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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst

 


Maker(s):Smith, Alexandria
Culture:American (1981- )
Title:The Rooting Place
Date Made:2019
Type:Sculpture
Materials:wood; mixed media; spray paint
Place Made:North America; United States
Measurements:Overall: 60 in x 25 in x 25 in; 152.4 cm x 63.5 cm x 63.5 cm
Accession Number:  MH 2019.39.2
Credit Line:Purchase with the Belle and Hy Baier Art Acquisition Fund
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Currently on view

Description:
Painted black sculpture comprising a cylindrical base and six protruding forms, which taper from thick orb-like shapes to soft points. There is light scoring on the surface of the sculpture that resembles a hairlike texture, and when lit from above, the tentacle like protrusions cast a hair-like image on the gallery floor.

Label Text:
Painter Alexandria Smith’s practice is largely centered on a lexicon of visual semiotics the artist developed to address the complexities of black identity. The Rooting Place is one of two works in the collection by Smith, both part of a larger body titled Monuments to an Effigy, an immersive installation that explores the troubling legacies of the historic Olde Town of Flushing Burial Ground, which was used as a cemetery for black and indigenous Americans in the late 19th century, and the Macedonia A.M.E. Church in Flushing. The Burial Ground was paved over to make space for a playground by the Parks Department in the 1930s, a troubling history Smith interrogates through the lens of black female subjectivity, memory, and myth.

The Rooting Place’s six protruding forms, which taper from thick orb-like shapes to soft points, represent one of Smith’s recurring motifs in her work: pigtails. The light scoring on the surface of the sculpture resembles a hairlike texture, and the shadows from the lights above cast an image of hair on the ground. (SSW)

Tags:
abstract; African American; conceptual art; devotion; diaspora; feminism; gender identity; girls; landscapes; mourning; race; social commentary; hairstyles; childhood; play; sculpture; roots; growth; spirituality; installations

Link to share this object record:
https://museums.fivecolleges.edu/detail.php?t=objects&type=ext&id_number=MH+2019.39.2

Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email fc-museums-web@fivecolleges.edu.

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