Washed Up: History in the River

Traci Picard, Curator
Found Objects, 2020–2022

This tiny exhibit does not answer any questions. It is not well researched, and there are no citations. It’s just a collection of objects I found washed up along the shore, perhaps eroded out of the infill, perhaps drifted up from a shipwreck or floated across the Atlantic. Undoubtedly, some of them were dumped on that riverside, as Providence sought to make more land using unwanted debris. Most are broken. You can observe for yourself what they are.

Well. Maybe I am trying to tell you a little story; what we think is “away” often comes back to the surface, eventually.

Mutilated Offerings: an [incomplete] body of work on how to be Trans in the world

Mutilated Offerings was born out of the Brown University course “Trans Cultural Production and Trans Studies”, instructed by Christopher J. Lee. This was our [Ren and Luka] culminating project after studying Trans critical theory and engaging with an array of cultural objects within different mediums. We were both heavily inspired by “Before Trans Studies” from Cassius Adair, Cameron Awkward-Rich, and Amy Marvin and the extrapolation of care to the academic space. We created this piece as a means of emphasizing “an orientation toward each other” (Adair).

Social and Racial Justice in Rhode Island

What do social and racial justice mean in practice in Rhode Island? This question guides this exhibit, which introduces three local grassroots organizations—DARE, PrYSM, and The George Wiley Center. The exhibit presents their efforts for social and racial justice, the changes they advocate, the events and campaigns they organize, and the services they provide. Additionally, the exhibit gives insight into their members’ goals and motivations and their ideas about what social and racial justice mean.

Continue reading
Brightly colored confetti

Isolation Celebrations

Isolation Celebrations is a collection of artifacts from the events that my family has celebrated since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. As the second of six children living at home with all of my siblings and both of my parents, our household is busy and often only comes together for dinner in the evenings. To maintain morale during quarantine and help us bond as a family, we have thrown household parties for various events. From prom to birthdays and back-to-school, each party had a different theme with decorations and props. They are all homemade—hand drawn, cut from paper, and taped up on the walls or placed around the room. These items have taken up permanent residence around my family’s house and now symbolize experiences and memories that we share.

Continue reading

Memories of Japanese American incarceration & its legacies

How did you first learn about Japanese American incarceration? Maybe there was a short paragraph dedicated to “internment” in your high school American history textbook. Perhaps you read Farewell to Manzanar in middle school. Maybe you are a descendant of a survivor and grew up surrounded by stories about “camp.” Perhaps you have a camp story of your own. Maybe you are entirely unfamiliar with these kinds of stories. Wherever you might find yourself on the spectrum of familiarity, the histories of Japanese American incarceration tend to remain just one example of state-perpetrated racialized violence too often glossed over in U.S. history classes and textbooks.  

Continue reading

Scraps and Skeins

Over the past year, I have come to think about the objects around me in a vastly different way. Spending months inside made me contemplate the possibilities of what I was throwing away—what might the future hold for these objects besides an eternity in a landfill? Coupled with my newfound interest in textiles and fiber art, my shifting relationship with waste has led me to create a number of small tapestries from materials that would otherwise have been discarded. By providing resources about re-use, I encourage other artists to embark on waste-reduction journeys in their own practices.

Continue reading

Casting Shade

Summer is the best season in Rhode Island. People are outside all the time and cooling off under the shade of big, lush trees. What happens when you don’t have shade to cool off in? Some neighborhoods have little to no shade and usually have higher concentrations of Black folx. Why do urban heat maps and redlining maps align? How can we consider shade a resource like food and housing? How do COVID and the climate crisis widen these inequities?

This exhibit encourages you to consider these questions as you listen to the audio story, interact with a series of digital maps, and take a self-guided tour through neighborhoods in your community.

For more audio stories at the intersections of medicine, structure, and the marginalized, visit Not Built for Us.

Continue reading

The Natural and Supernatural

Growing up in a scientific and deeply religious family, the two belief systems have always fascinated me. Over time, I have come to recognize the place they hold in my life and albeit contrasting, I have found them to have surprisingly similar impact. Faith offers courage in moments of insecurity and nature soothes in times of anxiety. In efforts to hold the two close to me I have ended up with a collection of small works involving arts and tiny experiments. The lack of tangibles in the supernatural inspires me to paint and get crafty while the natural brings me joy by observing growth in plants.

Continue reading