Writing and collage came together as a way of re-membering a forgotten past. I explored questions about the interior lives of unnamed women in photographs I found in archives and reclaimed what I could using textile art and verse.
Layering hand-cut designs, stitchwork, and porch-talk storytelling traditions, Darlene R. Taylor creates visual prose poetry on textured papers in a multidisciplinary form of narrative. The panels of what she calls her stories feature intergenerational re-membering. Using collage and lyrical language, the works imagine the unspoken narratives of Black women and girls and Black life.
The title banner on the right “Blood on a Blackberry” is followed by panels of prose, poetry, silhouette, and collage articulations in “Blackberry Cobbler,” “Braids,” “Can’t See the Road,” “Sit Side Me,” “Behind Her Gaze,” “Fannie,” “Census 1870,” and “Census 1880.” The panels on each wall form a visual story of memories and tellings beginning with ingredients for a recipe and ending with a tribute to Fannie, a foremother who was likely enslaved. The stories are drawn from notes on fragments, ephemeral artifacts, and archival research as the writer (re)imagines biography of Black women public history often neglects. The collective works expand the written narrative from Taylor’s prose poem “Blood on a Blackberry.”
During the time of her residency at the Aminah Robinson house, Taylor engaged with the poetry of Lucille Clifton and Natasha Trethewey and the prose of Toni Morrison and Gayl Jones for their stories of memory and generations. Taylor says she felt a kinship with Aminah Robinson’s history-mapping storytelling.