I Am My White Ancestors: Claiming the Legacy of Oppression Favorite 

Practitioner: 

Date: 

Oct 6 2016

Location: 

Portland, Oregon, USA

This installation of 13 photographic self-portraits explores European-American heritage, my family and their role in the history of racism, colonization, genocide, and classism. The ancestors, real and imagined, span over 2000 years from the Celtic Iron Age to the present day. The life size portraits are accompanied by audio diaries from the perspective of each character.

My goal is to make European American history personal and visible and to claim my white heritage, both positive and negative aspects. The idea for this project grew out of a desire to understand how my heritage impacts me as a white person living in the United States. I wanted to know how similar to, or different from, my ancestors I might be, and what I could learn from their lives. Claiming connection to my family history is also one step towards taking responsibility for the past. What would I have done in their place?

Posted by Anne Mavor on