My grandfather died on Saturday April 19, 2008. He was the most patient and quiet man, but my recollection of times spent with him have been loudly present in my mind ever since. It is my memory of moments we shared that sparked this series of work.
I inherited my Pop-Pop’s tools. He used these on a daily basis throughout his life, and for me these tools became the physical manifestation of his spirit. I felt the need to worship these tools, preserve them, but it has been through my use of these objects that part of my grandfather lives on. The stepstool my sister and I used to sit on when he cut our hair when we were little, the comb he used to brush out knots, the turkey bones I saved from the last Thanksgiving meal he ate—these objects carry the weight of my memories.
My mother wrote in my grandfather’s eulogy about an event I had all but forgotten about: when I was 9 or 10 years old, Pop-Pop and I went out on my parent’s deck and he showed me how to spit watermelon seeds. It was so mischievous of him, and when I heard the story being told, I was immediately taken back to that moment. I can’t help but think of it whenever I eat watermelon.
Living in Baltimore (the birthplace of both my grandparents and my mother) allows me access to the places that are part of their history. Looking through old photographs my grandmother has saved has helped me to locate and investigate certain places such as the house my mother grew up in. By comparing these old photographs with new, digital ones I have taken, I am able to link the past to the present while visually differentiating between the two.
This body of work has been a very personal venture, and it was out of some silent need that these pieces had to be completed. I hope that my work will trigger a desire in the viewer to look at their past and always remember.