I am honored and excited to be a contributor to the upcoming Yale University/Yale Divinity School Fall exhibit: Small Nation Photographs: Allegories, Renditions, and A Small Nation of Women. The show will emphasize Black Victorian women and the 19th century Black middle class through portraits, jewelry, antique clothing, collage artwork, and other historical items. Zanathia Jewelry will have various antiques on display at the exhibit, which includes accessories that feature portraits of Black Victorians, original postcard photos from the 19th century, and other antiques. This exhibit is historically significant, and the preservation of these items is essential for retelling their stories.
The exhibit's theme focuses on the items connected to the identity formation of many Black Victorians during the post-emancipation years. It is often scarce to find antique Victorian accessories and photographs that are a part of Black Victorian lives, yet they do exist. Through these powerful photographs and accessories, we can visualize their lives and the memories they may have experienced. The exhibit, specific date and location to be announced, will be presented at the Yale Divinity School division of Yale University. The exhibition will also include a gallery display of mixed media collage artwork, and submissions are currently open for consideration. The collage artwork must reflect the theme of the Small Nation Photographs exhibit.
Much of the Black Victorian emerging middle-class life seemed invisible to the public. Stereotypes and exaggerated caricatures were the prominent representation of Black Americans, although this was a false portrayal. Therefore, it was essential to emphasize the elegant and dignified Black Victorians in the 19th century. Despite their lack of acknowledgment, many examples reflect the progression and affluence that Black Victorians experienced. Their beliefs, social identity formation, and intricate traditions in post-emancipated America are all a part of the Small Nation Photographs exhibit.
I hope viewers will reflect on this period and the Black Victorian experience during the 19th century. I am thankful to work with a fantastic group of people on this significant project. I feel a strong connection and love for the curated portraits I have chosen for this exhibit. It is always exciting to find rare antiques as an antique dealer. As an African-American antique dealer, finding treasures linked to Black Victorians is even more compelling. I often wonder if we may be related to what they experienced on their journeys and all the eventful memories in their lives.
Small Nation Photographs: Allegories, Renditions, and A Small Nation of Women is a fantastic opportunity to carry on the legacy of Black Victorians. Certain parts of their stories are often invisible or hidden from our history books. Their identity formation and customs are significant to American history, and each antique object a part of this exhibit helps to tell their stories. May our preservation efforts and this exhibit uplift their lives and legacies.