“Relics of Home is the physical embodiment of fractured Black histories and familial memory. This series, composed of photographs, installations, and sculptural elements, is grounded in narratives told by my relatives that occupy land in Windsor North Carolina, where my ancestors labored as enslaved people. The series traces origin stories and depict sites significant to my family history.
This series was largely research based and centered around what I call ‘the Speller Plantation’ in Windsor, North Carolina (not its real name, but an accurate description of its history). I looked back to this land to examine land ownership, Black labor, and trace origin stories through the depiction of specific sites significant to my family history. The Roanoke River where enslaved people disembarked and were brought to auction; the last house my family owned; the ever-present cotton fields; and the house my grandfather grew up in. These works are representations of a place and time remembered, by the land, and through stories told by those who still inhabit this history.” – Jovan C. Speller
Jovan C. Speller is a multidisciplinary artist based in Minneapolis, MN. Her work – visual, textual and performative – interprets historic narratives through contemporary discourse. Her research based practice is centered around elevating, complicating and inventing stories that explore ancestry, identity, and spatial memory – making the intangible tangible and the invisible visible.
She is a recipient of a 2018 McKnight Visual Artist Fellowship, a 2018 Next Step Fund Grant, and a 2016 Jerome Emerging Artist Fellowship. She recently completed an artist residency at Second Shift Studio Space in St. Paul. Her photographic works and installations have been published and exhibited in various group and solo exhibitions. Her work has been collected in private collections, and at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
Jovan holds a BFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago, and studied art at Maryland Institute College of Art.