Allison Janae Hamilton

New York City, NY
Haints at Swamp II.
C-print, 2014
Collection of the artist

 

Allison Janae Hamilton’s haunting, whimsical portraits explore cultural memories and history. This portrait is from her recent series, Kingdom of the Marvelous, which she describes as a “restaging of photographs from my collection of my family’s photo albums from rural Tennessee as well as classic studio and fashion portraits depicting African American life.” She explores representation and self-fashioning by drawing attention to “persistent gestures in both studio and vernacular portraiture of the first half of the twentieth century.” In this series Hamilton constructs elements of her sitters’ garments from animal hides, antlers, skins, and heads. She also incorporates lace, flowers, veils, church fans, tambourines, and food items to animate her “play on cultural history and memory and [to] toy with expectations of identity and culture against a rural landscape.”