Something in the Water
by Shauntrice Martin
During antiquity, Africans poured libations to celebrate our ancestors. That tradition continues today. Our Indigenous water protectors risked their lives to preserve our most precious resources. Cattails, rivercane, escape routes, spiritual renewal—none of these could exist without water.
My work represents the parallel struggles of my Choctaw and Africanancestors. The repeated images of feathers, cowry shells, gold, and melanin demonstrate what and who we’ve lost along the way. Unfortunately there are some stories we will never know. This exhibit is dedicated to those stories that never made it to the history books.
Let us call upon the women who nurtured the essence of this work: Willie B. Muse, Gladys Ceal, Shauntee Lnee, Gazerrya Chemetrius, Iletha Davis, Nana Yaa Asantewa, Ms. Marilyn Jones, Ms. Harlina, Ms. Anita Winstead. Something in the Water explores the Choctaw and African women whose legacy flows through my blood and how water plays a role in both parts of my heritage. From bone collectors to Kakilambe dancers to modern day healers we venerate our ancestors with libations.
Every piece is slightly off; not quite symmetrical. It is a reflection of the less than linear genealogical path many of us have to take as we learn of our past. My hope is that this exhibition ignites a collective remembrance and desire to explore our history.