In June 2020, during quarantine when it was impossible to ignore injustices experienced by African Americans, I began an abstract painting series called Moody Monday; a reflection of my mental health and mood. During the 16-week series, I was repeatedly brought to themes around depression and anxiety relating to racism. Over a year later as organizations shift strategic focus towards combating social injustices, lawmakers are working to skew American history by banning the teaching of “critical race theory”. Instead of applying what we’ve learned in the 40-plus years since the term was coined legislators are attempting to silence Black voices and stories by filtering the truth told to youth.
This project expands the Moody Monday series; by incorporating the experiences of African Americans in Cincinnati. Through photography, abstract painting, and audio recordings this work reclaims narratives and preserves history. By creating physical and digital artifacts history is preserved in ways that cannot be easily erased.
50 interviews were conducted with Cincinnati community members about their experiences with racism, access to mental health care, historical trauma, and the stigma of mental health in the black community. 25 interview participants have been featured in the first installation of this work.
Photos and audio capture each participant's thoughts and expressions during the interview. Participants were then asked to create an abstract painting using shapes and colors to represent their feelings. The following body of work is a combination of the photo's taken and the artwork made by each participant creating a new original work of art, paired with audio excerpts from each interview.
Please grab a pair of headphones and prepare to experience each story through their eyes.
Thank you to our project sponsors!
And special thanks to MonstaTheEngineer for editing, scoring, and mastering the audio for this work!