As a part of Scalawag's collaboration with the How We Get Over: We Grow On Exhibition, curated by artists Jasmine Williams and Sarah Jené, Jackson-based photographer Justin Hardiman invited folks to participate in an audio-visual exploration of their relationship to grief. He asked each person he photographed to do two small tasks for their shoot:
- Pick a color that represented how they visualize grief, and
- Pick an object that represented how they engage with grief in their own lives.
What color or colors remind you of grief?
What tools, objects, or practices allow you to creatively engage your grief?
After interviewing them, Hardiman used his talents to create the intimate portraits seen below. Study how individualized each portrait of grief is. Different emotions collide without canceling one another out.
Each person discusses how something helped them address their grief or at least allowed them to keep moving with and despite grief. Often these tended to be instruments of self-expression and creativity. Take some time to sit with their reflections, responses, and meditations.
Brianna 'Bebe' Anderson
"My mom passed away when I was so young. I was just eight years old. I got a good glimpse of her from my little eyes, but when I became a woman I saw where I actually lacked—so my grieving was different when I first lost her than it is now… I think that I appreciate how God has laid out my life now, because now I do appreciate more women, and I appreciate the connections that I do have because I lost the connection with my mom—or I think I lost the connection. I physically don't have her here, but she's here!"
YELLOW & GREEN
& NEUTRAL BROWN
CAMERA & JACKET
"I picked a neutral brown to be representative of us as people… Every single inkling of us is some kind of grief, some kind of trauma we've carried on, whether it was our own or not. I often think we take on grief that isn't ours."
"I started using my creativity not as a way to deal with grief but as a way to escape from it. Growing up in the church, my dad a preacher, my grandad a preacher, my great-grandad a preacher… I didn't want to do that, and nobody around me really understood me as a person. I was grieving the loss of understanding, and so I kept spiraling into this rabbit hole of my own creation—forcing people to see me as what I wanted to be, which was a creative, an artist."
more from grief & other loves
With "We Grow On," part of the Mississippi Museum of Art's inaugural artists-in-residence program in collaboration with Scalawag, artists Sarah Jené and Jasmine Williams explore grief in an exhibition showcasing rest, beauty, light, and Blackness.
The other love of grief: loving something you never were, but somehow used to be. Using the formal constraints of the sestina, this complicating and uncompromising ode to Black womxn explores the reflexes, annulments, and returns of gender.
A Black Trans Haint on living and dying in a society that denies them authentic grief, trauma, and existence. 'The Living will have nothing to do with the Dead if it does not make itself more palatable—in made-up, morticianed, and mortified silence.'