Jovan C. Speller / If I Thought They Could Thrive (2021) / Archival Photograph


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If I Thought They Could Thrive (2021) is part of the Relics of Home series, the physical embodiment of fractured Black histories and familial memory. Composed of photographs, installations, and sculptural elements, the series is grounded in narratives told by Speller's relatives that occupy land in Windsor, North Carolina, where her ancestors labored as enslaved people.

Largely research-based and centered around what Speller calls 'the Speller Plantation" in Windsor (not its real name, but an accurate description of its history), the series traces origin stories and depicts sites significant to her family history: the Roanoke River, where enslaved people disembarked and were brought to auction; the last house her family owned; the ever-present cotton fields; and the house her 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.

Dimensions: 40 x 40 inches 

Archival Photograph - Limited edition of 5

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