Using 19th century ethnographic photographs as a point of departure, “For Tropical Girls Who Have Considered Ethnogenesis When the Native Sun is Remote” presents fantastical self portraits that question identity constructs and the psychological implications of iconography. The artist casts herself, a self-proclaimed “home grown immigrant,” as the subject of an ethnographic survey of invented personas who author their own representations of a blended cultural heritage. Smith masquerades in costumes and throughout sets crafted to mine the personal and collective memory of cultural signifiers of the Caribbean and produce microcosmic explorations of the formation of cultural identity in multinational America.
Smith, who was raised between Nassau, Bahamas and Miami, Florida by parents of similar multinational upbringing, is the first generation in her family to be raised outside of the Caribbean. From an early age, she has navigated the path between assimilation and preservation of cultural identity, ultimately creating a hybrid identity that embodies the apex of her experiences.
Drawing inspiration from the choreopoem “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf” by Ntozake Shange, Smith’s vignettes use her own experiences and recalled memories to create performative studies that empower reclamation of representation.
Tiffany Smith is an interdisciplinary artist from the Caribbean diaspora working in photography, video, installation, and design. Using plant matter, design elements, patterning, and costuming as cultural signifiers, Smith creates photographic portraits, site-responsive installations, user-engaged experiences, and assemblages focused on identity, representation, cultural ambiguity, and displacement. Smith’s practice centers on what forms and defines communities of color — and in particular — how they are identified, represented, and how they persist. Smith is based in Brooklyn, New York, and is currently a co-director of Ortega y Gasset Projects in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
United Photo Industries (UPI)
United Photo Industries (UPI) is a New York based nonprofit organization that works to promote a wider understanding of, and increased access to, the art of photography.
Since its founding in 2011, UPI has rapidly solidified its position in the public art landscape by continuing to showcase thought-provoking, challenging, and exceptional photography from across the globe. In its first seven years, UPI has presented the work of more than 2,500 visual artists in gallery exhibitions and public art installations worldwide.
For Tropical Girls Who Have Considered Ethnogenesis When the Native Sun is Remote
Featuring: Tiffany Smith
LocationsView Location Details Brooklyn Bridge Park – Emily Warren Roebling Plaza
1 Water St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
This location is part of Brooklyn Bridge Park
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Nominated by Jerry Vezzuso