The collections presented in this first exhibition, Why Umi’s Archive?, invite you to think about power in archives and in our stories: whose account of the past "counts?" whose lives should be remembered? These questions come up, inspired by anthropologist Christen Smith's call to "Cite Black Women," in the juxtaposition of Umi's college letter to FBI documents in "Dick Gregory." These questions also come up in the other collections: "Photography and Self-Determination," "Servicemen" and "Channel Surfing Vol. 1," through photos and video that both document everyday Black life and reimagine the archive in creative and speculative ways – riffing off scholars like Saidiya Hartman. In doing so these collections speak against the dominant narrative that Black people are a people without a history whose presence in the "Archive" (with a capital "A") is necessarily scant, if we are there at all. These collections, like Umi's Archive as a whole, disrupts this form of white supremacy’s power by taking seriously marginalized memories to rectify the Archive, i.e. what the public knows.
Please click on the plus (+) symbol to access each collection.