On Belonging: The Space In Between, 2021
Triptych // Dimensions Variable // Soil from the borderlines of states crossed between California to Virginia, porcelain, candied brown sugar, raw brown sugar, photographs, sod, celosia, oxygen, light, care, // 2021. Photos courtesy of Second Street Gallery. Photos taken by Stacey Evans.
On Belonging: The Space In Between punctuates the importance of place, belonging, and care through excavating the hidden histories embedded in the land as a means of regeneration, possibility, and growth. Rogers builds installations that pay homage to the interconnected histories in the soil and land from which they are created, in order to explore the dual nature of flight and migration as a means of survival and self-preservation, speaking particularly to diasporic resilience.
As a first-generation Afro-Asian woman who recently relocated from the East to the West coast, Rogers relates personally to the dislocation and unfamiliarity of the self as connected to any one particular place or history. She delves into the nature and complexity of her blackness by addressing ideas of hybridity, authenticity, and visibility as an Afro-Asian woman.
Pushing away from colonized notions of land as possession or indigeneity, Rogers explores the processes of movement as a practice black and brown people have used to conceptualize place, belonging, and cohabitation. Through our relationship with the Earth, this dislocation can be nurtured, as migration refuses hierarchies of possession and ecology. The ephemeral and transformative nature of these sculptures confronts temporality as outside of linear chronology, to assert that rest, regeneration, and cultivation are titular to progression.
In relation to core samples as the root of the Earth, the layers of the soil slabs and stratification of the sugar represent the components of the histories and shared experiences that our society is built upon. Rogers juxtaposes a myriad of imagery within her work--historical, personal, and current day events--to relate not only duality of identity and hybridity of our histories, but also the similarities of past and present societal structures such as the plantation system, sports, capitalism, patriarchy, commodification, and labor. The proximity of this imagery draws micro- and macro-parallels in the cyclical effect of the personal, relating to and affecting the larger world experience. Rogers also grows the celosia from seedling and embeds them into the soil, in a place where they are subject to fail due to lack of access to sunlight. As slavery's ongoing past continues to inform the present, her work recontextualizes these histories to articulate ideas surrounding identity, race, care, resistance, and resilience.