Sites of Remembrance and Notations for Locating Home, 2023
Soil tiles made from soil from childhood home in VA, C&H sugar factory, CA, Pen Park, VA, and Hawaii, archival photos // 10” x 41” x 73” // Photos curtesy of Angels Gate Gallery. Photos taken by Jordan Rodriguez.
“No person can claim to be part of a diaspora who cannot, however improbable, claim also to be traceable by descent to a lineage and (hence) to a place….The power of the idea lies in a principle of it: that a return is possible forever, whenever, if ever. It is possible– this inalienable right to wish a return, to reclaim connections to a lineage, however, fractured, that makes one individual a part of a diffuse and disparate collection of persons we call the diaspora….The commitment to return is not an obligation. It is only a prophetic expectation to be realized in Never-Time.”
- Michelle D. Commander Quoting Michael Echeruo, Afro-Atlantic Flight: Speculative Returns and the Black Fantastic
“We sing a song, in the black church tradition that says, 'I'm going up the rough side of the mountain on my way home.' Indeed the very meaning of 'home' changes with the experience of decolonization, of radicalization. At times, home is nowhere. At times, one knows only extreme estrangement and alienation. Then home is no longer just one place. It is locations. Home is that place which enables and promotes varied and ever-changing perspectives, a place where one discovers new ways of seeing reality, frontiers of difference. One confronts and accepts dispersal and fragmentation as part of the construction of a new world order that reveals more fully where we are, who we can become, an order that does not demand forgetting. 'Our struggle is also a struggle of memory against forgetting.'
- Bell hooks, Choosing the Margin as Space of Radical Openness
Sites of Remembrance and Notations for Locating Home juxtaposes personal and familial imagery with historical – to articulate diasporic distance and placemaking to those distanced from their homeland. The images construct a fractured narrative that cannot be entirely understood due to the destruction of ancestral knowledge and the gaps in the archive. The imagery becomes a form of rememory acknowledging the interconnectedness of Black and Asian comunities and histories.
Photographs are partially buried within soil tiles made from Virginia, California, and Hawaiian soil arranged in the approximate size of a twin-sized bed. A portion of the imagery references the first significant wave of Korean immigrants to the United States. Promised an opportunity to escape religious persecution and poverty, Koreans arrived to find themselves exploited by Hawaii’s sugar barons in 1903. The sugar cultivated by immigrant labor in Hawaii supplied the California and Hawaii distribution company in Crockett, California. By positioning this event, in parallel to photographs of the artist's family history as a second-generation Afro-Asian woman growing up in rural Virginia (and former confederate capital) with a Korean immigrant mother and Black father, Rogers asks the viewer to consider the ephemeral ways in which many traditions, stories, and ways of knowing preserved in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities becomes visible in intangible ways due to colonization and American imperialism. Methods of remembering that cannot be held but are protected through the land and within the people themselves. Methods of remembering that create beauty and solidarity despite the violence.