One of the reasons I chose to pursue a Master of Fine Arts was that I was seeking dedicated time and space to deeply explore how to make art about race and social justice in ways that align with my values, while also building up my visual arts toolbox. I quickly realized that this was the first time I was openly challenging whiteness and white body supremacy in a community where that was not the central focus. I often found myself wanting deeper dialogue that went beyond the aesthetics of fine art and got to the heart of the issues I care so deeply about.
I began to focus on creating art specifically about white women after observing that the most successful art about race made by white people was art that was born out of their own lived experiences. In the fall of 2021, I visited the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. There is a section of the memorial with placards that share more details of some of the racial terror lynchings. I was stunned to see how many of them were caused by the accusations of white women - for everything from looking at or speaking to a white woman to sexual assault. I began a series dedicated to telling these stories.
As I continue to deepen my own racial justice journey, I have come to see how healing myself is at the center of it all. I began to ask myself, how can I create artwork about whiteness that is both informative and healing? It's important to tell the story of the hundreds of lynchings caused by toxic white femininity. And it is important to tell the story of resistance and resilience. I sought out information about white women who defied the norms of the Jim Crow South. I knew it was important for me to carry on their messages. And so the Legacy Quilt was born.