When my Father passed my Mother gave me his handkerchiefs. He used to wear them in his lapel when he went to church. Years later, I realized that I could use them as tender supports for my series of family album paintings. When I exhausted my supply of his handkerchiefs, I shopped for others at second-hand stores. Friends and acquaintances also gave me some.
The pieces you see are all about my family– how their very specific particularity also informs a universality. All families, despite their race, creed or nationality have similar snapshots and memories. Many families have a Mom who somehow holds everything together and is the heart of the family. Many daughters and mothers have relationships that are fraught with dependency and bone-deep ties that seem to go beyond blood ties. Years ago, many dads read the paper in a pose just like the one mine is captured in. This is what my family and other deeply rooted families are like when we are not worried about the police possibly shooting at us at a traffic stop, or when a clerk is not suspiciously following us around a store, or when someone is not calling us outside of our names. These pictures show how the personal is also the political because they are about a universal humanity that we all share, a humanity that transcends any sort of colonialist calculus.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Tricia Lynn Townes lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is an adjunct professor at Tennessee State University. She has attended several residencies, including Skowhegan, The Fine Art Work Center, Mass MoCA, and The Vermont Studio Center.
© Tricia Lynn Townes