Purchase with the Belle and Hy Baier Art Acquisition Fund
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)