One More River to Cross

One More River to Cross

June 22, 2020

Daesha Devón Harris's visual art appears in Issue 48: Exposure.

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DAESHA DEVÓN HARRIS

Inspired by slave narratives and folklore that involve the crossing of water, my current series One More River to Cross addresses America’s enduring legacies of colonialism and systemic racism, while reiterating the central narrative that emerges from the referenced memoirs—the ongoing struggle for freedom. Using elements from these stories in combination with aquatic landscapes, I contemplate the contemporary state-sanctioned violence against Black communities, the approval of this violence by the general public (in the form of unsolicited advice on how Black people should “exist” in order not to be terrorized), and the absence of justice in response to these crimes.This work claims the significant contributions and sacrifices that our ancestors gave civilization in both life and in death and acknowledges the burden of social constructs that to this day continue to threaten people of color. Drawing strength from our sacred texts and spiritual music, this series is about the Black experience that is deeply connected to the landscape, the idea of home, and its intersections with water. Water becomes symbolic of freedom—whether it is in this world or the next—and simultaneously confirms social and cultural boundaries. Water has to be crossed on the journey to freedom.

 

Just Follow Me Down to Jordan’s Stream, Fall 2017. Cotton rag archival pigment print. 17 x 22 inches.

My Soul Looked Back and Wondered, Fall 2017. Cotton rag archival pigment print. 17 x 22 inches.

 Get Away, Jordan, Fall 2016. Cotton rag archival pigment print. 17 x 22 inches.

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Daesha Devón Harris is a Saratoga Springs, New York, native, artist, and photographer who plays an active role in her community as a youth advocate, social activist, and cultural history preservationist. The gentrification of her hometown and its effect on the local Black community has played a major role in both her advocacy and artwork. Harris’s most recent awards include fellowships at En Foco, Inc., MDOCS Storytellers’ Institute, and the Center for Photography at Woodstock. Daesha is also an avid fisherwoman and hobbyist gardener. 



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