DANIELLE SCRUGGS: MIGRATIONS
Migrations combines original portraits and archival photos of Scruggs’ family members to trace her personal family history and explore the Great Migration of the early to mid-20th century, which is directly connected to the lingering effects of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
During the U.S. Great Migration, between 1910 and 1970, thousands of Black families relocated from Southern towns and cities to Northern cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and New York to escape dead-end jobs and Jim Crow racism and to build better lives for themselves and future generations. Both sides of Scruggs’ family were a part of this move. They were sharecroppers and farmers who relocated from Fordyce, Arkansas and Clarksdale, Mississippi to Peoria, Illinois and Chicago, Illinois, respectively.
In Migrations, Scruggs combines archival family photos and modern portraits she has taken of her family members. In doing so, she pieces together more about her personal family history and places it within a larger context about how these relocations and cultural shifts affected both her own family members’ lives and the lives of thousands of Black families in America.
Overall, Scrugg’s practice, which includes photography, text, and installation, explores the various ways one can navigate, shape, and take up physical and psychic space, and how this leads to the construction of the self. Scruggs is particularly interested in her family’s origin stories and exploring a small aspect of what it means to be Black in America, and how those histories affect us in the present day.
Image: Danielle Scruggs, Mom, 2015. Archival inkjet print, 30”x40”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Danielle A. Scruggs is a photographer and photo director. Her work has been exhibited at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, A.I.R. Gallery, Arlington Arts Center, Pleasant Plains Workshop, the National Institutes of Health, Roman Susan Gallery, and the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, among other museums and galleries throughout the United States.She has also been an artist-in-residence at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, Byrdcliffe Colony, The Wassaic Project, and Pleasant Plains Workshop. In 2015, she established Black Women Directors, an online resource highlighting the art and labor of Black women directors from across the Diaspora. That same year, she was part of the inaugural Thread at Yale class.
Danielle received her M.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art and her B.A. from Howard University. After living in Washington, D.C. for several years, she recently relocated to her hometown of Chicago, where she is currently the Director of Photography at the Chicago Reader newspaper.
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 10, 6-8pm (free and open to the public)
Luce Foundation Center Artist Talk: Saturday, July 29, 1:30pm (free and open to the public), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Third Floor