This blog is composed of images and writings related to the life and work of Faith Ringgold, her mother Mme. Willi Posey, and her daughters Michele and Barbara Wallace. There are pages with links to blogs composed of the materials arranged by decades. The blog, itself, will ultimately be composed of materials related to the life of the family in the 90s and the 21st century.

Sunday

Ancestor Project--Why and What



Why am I doing this project on my Ancestors, which I call Soul Pictures? It is important to say.

Is it to prove to my mother that I love her?

No, because that would be impossible.

To prove to myself that I love her?

That would be unnecessary.

Is it to prove to others that I love her?

Well, that might be nice but it would be, I think, without substance or meaning. In other words, to prove something, anything to "them" is to prove nothing.

Is it to prove that I loved Momma Jones, or my other female ancestors?

Everybody knows.

Is it to make sure that the story gets told as it should be told?

That could not be.

To make sure that the story gets told as I wish it to be told?

No.

To make it a story to stand in equality with other family stories or other stories of mythic proportions?

This would be nice, of course, but no longer of crucial importance to me.

And so, knowing what I already know about the pictures, the narratives, the interviews, the documents and their intrinsically incomplete nature, then I can accept the tenuous nature of the conditions of my work, and I can accept finally whatever I am able to do in the time I have left?

The importance of this work for me lies in its connection to the continuity of my life, from my youth through the end of my life, how I make sense of my life in connection with other lives through the past, the present and most importantly, the future-- or that which cannot be known in advance.

It is important to leave something, to make sense of the past, and to leave some indications of how it once made sense. The choice of the future may be ultimately to use it in ways not anticipated by me.

But I am entirely opening myself to that possibility. The future will use, exploit, eviscerate, appropriate the past, which is currently my present, I hope. I sincerely hope.

I sincerely hope there will be something left of us. I worry about that because we live in such a violent world. What becomes of these internet universes when everything is being blown up?

I think a lot of us have the sense that the internet can survive the physical destruction of our cities, of even our planet but how would that work? Although the web seems ephemeral, in fact, it is not, is it?

Writing about life is a good thing, in and of itself, and separates us (in a productive way, I think) from the animals who have no language, and therefore no historical narrative.

And that is that.


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Michele Wallace: Talking in Pictures

Michele Wallace: Talking in Pictures
Barbara, MJ, Michele and Mom in the background in sunglasses at a fashion show in the early 60s