Is It All Black and White?

By Asia Kristina Jones

Look around, what do you see?

Is it all black and white?

Columbia Art Museum is home of Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe’s photo essay, “Daufuskie Memories” (DUH•FUH•SKI)

This 60-plus still biography essay depicts the lives of African Americans on the island from 1977 to 1981.

So what really makes this exhibit so educational and relatable? The passion. The simplicity. The people.

Ashe takes the audience on a journey through such an “unimportant island” where we find couples, men & women, family & friends live their daily lives stuck in a poverty stricken form of home

This exhibit is so inspirational because even with little to no resources the photos depict, children are smiling and we find women in their Sunday best gathering to take pictures after church service. The repeatability is found in their faces.

Faces of young black girls in church, or clutching each other’s hands for protection, the faces of black elders, white cemeteries.

Faces remind me of my linage and my culture. I relate to people’s lives that were decades before my own due to the simple visuals of protection, religious honors, and respect for the older women and men that mend everyone else together.

“You’re talking about history, a point in time that no longer exists. If you go to the same spot now you’re not going to see the same things. It’s lovely to have these moments captured and being able to explore them and talk about them,” is what Director of Education and Engagement, Kerry Kuhlkin-Hornsby said about Daufuskie Memories.

That simple fact proves why this exhibit is an important part of history, and how the intent is to educate people of not only their own history, but of one not like their own.

Although it is about black people, it tempts all races to relate and find themselves.

Because we are all mixed between day and night.

Black and white.

Most days living solely in shades of gray.


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