Can I Grow? The Metamorphosis of the Black Woman

Can I Grow? The Metamorphosis of the Black Woman

By Community Connections Artist-in-Residence Ashlee Phillips 

Opened June 24, 2022 at the Speed Art Museum

Can I Grow? The Metamorphosis of the Black Woman (2022) is an immersive experience that invites the community to travel back in time through a range of emotions while being fully immersed in the nostalgia of life. With thrifted secondhand material, I have created a living room that embodies the style one would have seen in an elder’s home during the late 70s to mid-90s. In turn, it generates a moment where modern meets matriarch, allowing the experience to be one of leisure, inclusion, simplicity, and remembrance.

Designed with the desire to pay homage to my ancestors, the vintage loveseat and chair covered in plastic serve as a reminder of the importance of taking care and having pride in your belongings, while the curio cabinet is adorned with trinkets, family memorabilia, and more to show the love, honor, and dignity that only a matriarch possesses for her family. The use of audio via my late great-grandmother, Peggy Lee Phillips, allows for her spirit to be carried on while simultaneously carrying the viewer throughout the experience. Whether it’s looking through the community photo album placed on the coffee table or treating yourself to a piece of butterscotch found in a stained glass dish, you are encouraged to take part in your own growth by remembering where you’ve been.

I invite you to bloom.

The Community Connections Artist Residency is made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Grant