Andrea Garland - Artist

Perhaps because our ancestors were dependent on the land, we who hail from the American South are deeply rooted to tradition and place. Many of us were taught to honor and respect a history that is remembered through dual lenses of pride and pain. Though there is sometimes conflict, we must acknowledge that the character of our culture is unique, and we can preserve and accept it honestly. To communicate the impact that the residue of the past has on successive generations, I emboss items that I inherited from my Southern family. These are linens that were once regularly used in daily life but are now valued simply for their sentimental qualities. The process of preserving the images of these articles through pressure, energetic mark-making, washing, wringing, drying, and marking with new layers serves as a metaphor for the identity struggle that the region experiences as it continues to navigate cultural changes. Like any other place, the growth of the South depends on its willingness to acknowledge both the good and the bad in its past and learn from all voices without losing treasured cultural distinctions in the effort.