Ann Johnson

The Narrative, 2017
intaglio, embossing on glass, video
24 x 32 x 4 in.

JULY 2015 changed me. For the first time in 26 years I was nervous about driving into Waller County. During the 30 minute commute to Prairie View from my house I was constantly telling myself “don’t forget to use your blinker” when you exit University Drive. You see, that was what reportedly happened to Sandra Bland. She was pulled over and three days later was found dead in a Waller County jail.

The Narrative is a two sided glass quilt that scribes the police transcript of the Sandra Bland traffic stop. The back side, or transcript side of the quilt is in the design pattern of a Gees Bend quilt. The front side of the quilt is in the traditional geometric pattern of a “North Star” which guided numerous slaves to freedom. A video plays at the bottom of the quilt that records the exact route that Bland was driving in Prairie View, TX. Inside of the glass quilt are a blue and red blinking light. The red light references that Bland stopped for failure to signal. This light faces the North Star side of the quilt, and a blue blinking light faces the transcript side of the quilt. Inside of the quilt are images of Sandra Bland’s hands printed on fragile leaves. While the transcript side of the quilt describes in detail the events that led to Blands’ arrest, the North Star side reads names of women who have lost their lives to violence or law enforcement and repeatedly reads she matters, say her name, say it. We must speak for these women. We must tell these stories. She matters.

© Ann Johnson