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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Traces, Fragments and Voids: An Artist Representing Detroit's Vanishing Homeland

  • Author(s): Sage, Whitney Lea
  • et al.

Published Web Location Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Homesickness Series, an ongoing series of monochromatic ink paintings modeled after tintype photography, frames the façades of individual homes in Detroit as a form of portraiture. If individual depictions of lost or endangered homes can be seen as portraits of the residents they once contained, and if homes are sites and containers of memory, then rendered windows and doors serve as both literal and psychological passageways into the interior of the home and the interior sites of the mind with its associated lived experiences and memories. As a corrective measure in representing Detroit, my practice uses visual or written means to provide the audience of my work with oft-overlooked historical contexts to illuminate the ways corporate abandonment, housing segregation, highway construction, and white flight led to the city’s present day challenges.

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