Artist Talk: Friday, April 5, 6 pm
In HEIRLOOMS, Darlene R. Taylor (b. 1960) affirms the resonance of memory in material culture as she imagines portraits of Black women obscured in historical archives. History is a muse that guides Taylor to know the past from the women who lived it. HEIRLOOMS examines the presence of Black women in Maryland’s Talbot County communities and Taylor’s own ancestry and follows the artist’s experience researching and interpreting photographs found in archives and family albums. Taylor employs mixed-media collage using vintage linens, laces, cottons, and buttons collected and handed down from mother to daughter, friend to friend. Her use of women’s personal effects also draws inspiration in part from artifacts unearthed during two excavations commissioned by the Museum at the former home of Henny and James Freeman, one of the earliest- documented free Black landowning families who lived on the Hill Community site from 1787-1828.
The works on paper on view in HEIRLOOMS engage mid-19th century forms, including silhouette, dressmaking, and quilting. Weaving the language of prose and poetry in the collages, Taylor inscribes public records with reimaginings that reveal the interior longings of generations of Black women, terrain so often distorted or absent in archives. This hybrid form of history-mapping in poetic verse and fabrics once held by ancestors assembles an archive that remembers untold stories so that more can be known of what Taylor refers to as “the love, labor, and thriving of Black life and family.”Learn More