Legacy Interrupted: Recent Works by Hope McMath Opens FEB 9 from 6-8pm
The exhibition weaves together narratives of personal history with themes driving contemporary debates on race, teaching of truth, and the power of remembrance and repair
In her latest and most important body of work, Hope McMath reveals the tensions between her own ancestry, her current life path, and the contemporary debates on how we know, teach, and reckon with our collective history. McMath combines aspects of her recently-discovered ancestral ties to the Confederacy, the era of enslavement, and Jim Crow legislation with her existence as a white woman in the South who often stands with those engaged in tearing down the very systems the men and women in her lineage helped to build.
Through a process of self scrutiny and deep research, Hope McMath’s journey has taken her from an intellectual pursuit to a process of art making and personal reflection. The resulting prints are large in scale, multilayered in their imagery, and intuitive in the process that brought them into being. Woodcuts, silkscreens, and letterpress give image and voice to themes of remembrance, reckoning, truth telling, and hope. Census records, last wills and testaments, and well-worn symbols combine with the visages of three main figures: McMath’s ancestor in his Confederate uniform, the Women of the Southland monument, recently removed from Springfield Park, and Harriet Tubman, an image of strength, resistance, and survival whose face holds the memory of the people only known by dehumanizing statistics captured in family inventories.
These works land at a time of censorship and erasure of Black history from our schools, debates over the continued infection of the ‘lost cause’ narrative, the removal of monuments from public spaces, and the need for reparations for past wrongs.
Visitors are invited to consider questions of what it means to interrupt harmful legacies, how we rectify a history of honoring the dishonorable, and why it matters to actively engage in the healing of ourselves and our communities.
This is McMath’s first exhibition at Yellow House, a space that she has held for artists, poets, activists and the community for nearly seven years. The majority of the art works in this exhibition were created during an artist residency at FSCJ South Campus, under the gracious guidance of Patrick Miko. The solo exhibition opens in celebration of the work of Take ‘Em Down Jacksonville and in recognition of the racial reckoning that continues in Jacksonville, the state of Florida and beyond.