Help Erika Finish Her Senior Thesis!
Thank you for taking out the time to visit my gofundme page! I am currently a first semester Division III student at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA studying Photography and Africana Studies. I have begun working on my Division III thesis project where I have chosen to use the mediums of analog photography and video to explore the ways that the Black female body has been represented in different forms of media and how we as Black women can use different mediums to reclaim our bodies. Thus far, I have been in the research phase of my thesis which involves reading different texts dealing with the Black female body, looking at different images of Black women that have been created and circulated through advertisements, propaganda, branding, publications, etc., starting in the mid 19th century, and then contemporary media such as commercials, films, magazines, television, etc. I am specifically looking at representation with the 3 infamous Black female archetypes in mind, Mammy, Jezebel and Sapphire. These archetypes have a long history within our nation and are still perpetuated throughout mainstream media and have a profound impact on the lives of Black women in the United States today.
As a part of my research, I am trying to attend the Black Portraiture[s] II Conference that is being held in Florence, Italy and is put on by the TISCH School of Art at NYU. This year’s conference focuses on the representation of Black bodies in the West in art, film, literature, photography, and music, both historically and contemporarily. There will be workshops, panels, screenings and exhibitions held all over Florence; these panels and workshops will have some of the leading scholars and artists in these fields of study. Attending this conference will enable me to engage and create connections with others who study Black representation in various art mediums and having the opportunity to engage directly with the authors whose works I have been reading.
The next phase of my project is the production phase. During the summer I plan to return to NC to interview Black women from my community about how these representations affect their daily lives and how they each enact their own reclamation of their bodies. Based on their ideas of reclamation, we, as photographer and subject, will collaboratively create portraits that are a visual representation of their ideas. This whole process of the interview and portrait sessions will be documented through video and be used in the gallery installation of the portraiture that the subjects and I choose to appear in show.
For all of this to happen I need your help!
I am currently raising money for the funds to attend the Black Portraiture[s] II conference and the cost of materials for my gallery installation. Although I have applied for grants from Hampshite college and received some funding, this is not nearly enough to cover the costs of materials, let alone travel expenses, both domestic and abroad.
This amount covers all expenses for the Black Portraiture[s] II conference including a round trip flight, accommodations and food during my time there. I also need more funding for the materials needed to produce my gallery show such as film, printing/matting/ framing materials and domestic travel expenses. As an artist, it is extremely important to me to have reciprocal relationships with my subjects, therefore I also plan on giving each subject that takes part in my project their own copy of the portrait of their choice and a copy of the interviews. I hope that after my show is done at Hampshire college that I will be able to bring this installation back to my home, Durham, NC to share with my community.
This is a project that has been in the works for quite some time now, even before I transferred to Hampshire College. I am both nervous and excited that my undergraduate education is finally coming to a close after a long journey. I would like to thank you again for taking out the time to visit my gofundme page and read a little about my thesis. I hope that you will consider partnering with me to make this project possible.
I am so please to tell y'all that I have been able to raise enough funds through this campaign and some grants to attend the Black Portraitures conference! The conference is next week and I could not be more excited to be going! Thanks for all of those who have contributed and shared this campaign amongst their communities! Your contributions and support are very much so appreciated.
Although I have raised enough to attend the conference, I still need your help in raising enough money for supplies for my thesis show! I will be heading down to North Carolina the same week that I get back from attending the conference to start photographing and filming my project and need to buy materials such as film in order to start. Once I am done photographing and filming in NC, I will need to start editing and printing back here in Western Mass, and the supplies for that are quite costly. Please continue to share this campaign with your circles!
Again, many thanks to those who have helped me thus far by sharing and contributing!
I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has been involved in this campaign! I am so grateful for your support in sharing this with your communities and in giving! I have raised quite a bit of funds thus far, but I still have a ways to go! Please continue to share this with your communities, and don't forget that people can also make tax deductible donations, for more info on how, go visit my GoFundMe page.
Thanks again for y'all's support!
Good news! You can make your donations tax-deductible! All you have to do is send a check to the Good Work community organization and add Erika Smith DIV III Project to the memo line. If you're interested in the work that they do you can check out their website www.goodwork.org. You can send your checks to the address below:
P.O. Box 6013
Raleigh, NC, 27628
Thanks again to those who have already contributed or shared!!!
Erika Smith, 13F