A Folktale Exhibition
Just Beyond the River features selections from Daesha Devón Harris’ series of mixed media pieces, made using a personal collection of unidentified, discarded Victorian-era portraits. In production over multiple years, throughout every season, her process includes submerging a transparent version of a portrait in a body of water amongst an arranged aquatic still-life and photographing the constructed scene.
This work is inspired by Negro Folklore, Slave Narratives and Harlem Renaissance poetry and aims to illuminate America’s enduring legacies of colonialism and systemic racism that defines our nation’s history, while reiterating the central narrative that emerges from the referenced memoirs – the ongoing struggle for Freedom.
“Through my artwork I strive to promote a sincere understanding of the contemporary and historic contributions of people of color … with insight, compassion and protectiveness I endeavor to capture the ‘life’ that continues to evolve amidst struggle and success. And with ardent respect for a profound past, I challenge the viewer to consider the complexity of issues facing communities of color.”Daesha Devón Harris.
Daesha Devón Harris is a mixed media artist weaving text with images, historical and current, that often focus on her own hometown community of Saratoga Springs, NY.
We got to meet Daesha Devon Harris during our Digital Diaspora Family roadshow (DDFR) at Skidmore College hosted by the John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative (MDOCs) at Skidmore back in 2015. She spoke of a special family tradition that was handed down through generations.