Akea Brionne Brown
Jesse, Archival Inkjet Print, 20" x 24", 2017
Black Picket Fences (2017-2019) is a photographic series encompassing environmental portraiture and documentary photographs of contemporary black households and the everyday lives of those who in- habit them. This body of work aims to highlight an often overlooked group in contemporary American culture: the black, suburban middle class. While this group has not been entirely forgotten, it is hard to define. For some, these photographs might be the first and most intimate form of contact or interaction they might have with a black household. The work is largely inspired by one central question: If the ethos of the suburban landscape is largely understood as an ideologically “white” space, how do we begin to discuss the paradox of the black suburb and the ways in which it challenges to concept of whiteness? It became important to think about the suburban landscape, not simply in terms of a continuous area, but as an object that has the ability to be altered and shaped to benefit those who inhabit it. Black Picket Fences seeks to highlight, dissolve, and reject the racist construction of the suburban landscape by showing blacks who now inhabit the suburban landscape- a space that was never intended to benefit them.