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The Rooting Place


Alexandria Smith (American), The Rooting Place, 2019
Photo Credit: 

Laura Shea

Not On View
Smith, Alexandria
American (1981- )
Place made: 
North America; United States
The Rooting Place, 2019
wood; mixed media; spray paint
Overall: 60 in x 25 in x 25 in; 152.4 cm x 63.5 cm x 63.5 cm
Purchase with the Belle and Hy Baier Art Acquisition Fund
MH 2019.39.2

Painter Alexandria Smith’s practice is largely centered on a lexicon of visual semiotics the artist developed to address the complexities of black identity. The Rooting Place is one of two works in the collection by Smith, both part of a larger body titled Monuments to an Effigy, an immersive installation that explores the troubling legacies of the historic Olde Town of Flushing Burial Ground, which was used as a cemetery for black and indigenous Americans in the late 19th century, and the Macedonia A.M.E. Church in Flushing. The Burial Ground was paved over to make space for a playground by the Parks Department in the 1930s, a troubling history Smith interrogates through the lens of black female subjectivity, memory, and myth.

The Rooting Place’s six protruding forms, which taper from thick orb-like shapes to soft points, represent one of Smith’s recurring motifs in her work: pigtails. The light scoring on the surface of the sculpture resembles a hairlike texture, and the shadows from the lights above cast an image of hair on the ground. (SSW)