Poplar Wood, Human Hair, Seed Cotton, Bronze, Brass, Tiger Ebony, Cast, Fabricated

Photo Credit: Josh Egel

Just a Sweet Word utilizes information culled from The Stowage of the British Slave Vessel Brookes, Saidiya Hartman's Lose Your Mother and a video released in late 2016 of a man reupholstering a chair. All of these source materials share the Black body as a central agent or source or commerce.

As per the guidelines set forth on Brookes, each man was given 6'x1'4" to get the desired 454 slaves onboard the vessel. The plinth is 4'x6' to mimic the space that three men could fit in as per this allocation. In Hartman's Lose Your Mother she finds a calculation for the amount of pounds of cowrie shells per pound of human flesh to buy an African into slavery. It was about 1 pound of cowrie shells to 13 pounds of human flesh. The yellow bronze cotton boll husks are made in the 1:13 ratio to account for my worth in these objects. The chair is an American Empire style chair popular from 1800-1850 made of poplar wood and stuffed with seed cotton and human hair similar to a chair that was recently reupholstered from a family in Georgia.

All of these work together to think about the monetized/commodified Black body to ask questions about equivalencies and challenge the relationship between consumption and the Black body.

Generous Contributions from:

Kathryn and John Milligan, Greg Flood, Lorry Luikart, Renaldo Rodgers, Barbara Fremder, Deborah and Shaune Wilson, Khristina Gardner, Chris Johnson, Monika Hudson, Joe and Shanan Vasquez, Emily Khulmann, Matt Wasserman, John McNamara, Carlos and Doris Vasquez, Naiema Jackson, Jane Springwater, Susie Poncelet, David Hoskins, Susan Quinlan, Jana Emmer, Richard Hawes and Ehren Tool