I was fortunate enough to see Whitfield Lovell’s project Deep River last year. Lovell’s installation combined wood, metal, earth, cloth, ink, and more to evoke an aesthetic narrative of enslaved black Americans escaping to freedom by fording the Tennessee River. I will never forget a teenage girl who broke down crying and shaking moments after entering the installation room. Her presence as a witness seems to me, in retrospect, central somehow to the power of Lovell’s tableau.
The exhibit also featured other works by Lovell, including Cut.