Eliza's Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities
Lynden Sculpture Garden | Milwaukee WI
This project, constructs a full-scale slave cabin as the central object in imagining what a 19th-century woman of African descent might have collected and stowed in her cabin as her own unique wunderkammer. The cabin subverts the architectural form of the Southern cabin to challenge the perceived status of historical cabinets of wonder and presents a nuanced dimension of Black representation using Eliza’s “collection” to turn the tables on the Eurocentric gaze. Activating the space with objects, imagery and contemporary media that traverse the past, present and future, this work positions the Black imagination as an essential element in Black survival and self-determination. The fictional Eliza not only assumes the role of collector, anthropologist and naturalist; as curator of her wunderkammer she asserts her right to creative and artistic forms of social commentary about her time.