| Announcement Postcard for Nacirema Exhibition at Brown University's List Art Center
From the Curator and Gallery Director Jo-Ann Conklin's statement for the exhibition Nacirema in the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University, Providence, RI, June 8 – July 7, 2019:
Valuing “the associate power of abstract images…to suggest complex ideas,” Toby Sisson uses the idiom of non-objective abstraction to reflect on her personal experience as a multiracial American. The descendent of enslaved Africans, European settlers and immigrants, and Cherokee Indians, Sisson recognizes the binary reality that W.E.B. Du Bois termed “double-consciousness:—a constant awareness of “twoness.” Past works with titles like One Drop Rule and Black Tears (created in 2015 in response to continuing violence against young, unarmed, black men), have led to Nacirema. The title, an inversion of the word “American,” references Nacirema Clubs—African Americas social clubs established in the early twentieth century, like the one Sisson’s father frequented. Inscribing the words over and over within her abstract compositions, Sisson invites us to join her in contemplating alternate readings of our national identity.