Photographs by Wendel White
The Manifest portfolio consists of photographic representations of objects, documents, photographs, and books held in various public collections throughout the U.S. These repositories include various elements of material culture such as diaries, slave collars, human hair, a drum, souvenirs, and other objects, some with great significance and others simply quotidian representations of daily life in the history of the African American community. White is increasingly interested in the residual power of the past to inhabit these material remains. The ability of objects to transcend lives, centuries, and millennia, suggests a remarkable mechanism for folding time, bringing the past and the present into a shared space that is uniquely suited to artistic exploration.
Manifest is an effort to seek out the artifacts and material evidence of the American construct and representation of race. The histories of slavery, abolition, segregation, the U.S. Civil War, and the Civil Rights Era are a few of the narratives that emerge in these photographs.
Image: The Works of Robert Burns, First Book Purchased After Slavery by Frederick Douglass Rush Rhees Library, University of Rochester, NY Pigment Print, 2010
This exhibition was sponsored in part by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.