On view at the Hanesbrand Theatre through December 2017 are a selection of prints from my ongoing project, Establishing Kinship.
ESTABLISHING KINSHIP | A PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECT
In April 2016 I relocated to Winston-Salem with only one contact in the city. It wasn't my first time moving to a place with only one connection; I had done that years before when I moved to London. While this process of finding roots was not foreign, it was no less daunting 10 years later.
Jared Diamond, in his book Guns, Germs and Steel writes about the rise of civilizations and the growth of societies from small bands to tribes and on to our current states. Bands are the most basic organization of people, and are blood related, tribes are the next largest, and are kin related. In tribes, where there are more people contending for resources, establishing kinship is crucial to inclusion (which means survival.) I thought about that and wondered, how do we establish kinship in the US today?
With this question in mind, I wanted to document the process of building community. As a photographer, it is through the lens that I examine and explore our shared experiences, so I began making portraits of all of those people I was encountering and building relationships with. From colleagues to students, the post-man to baristas, I wanted to build a visual diary of the people who created the Winston-Salem I was getting to know.
For me, the arts have played a significant role in this experience. It is through Winston-Salem State University's art department and the Diggs gallery, Sawtooth Center for the Arts and Arts Nouveau Winston-Salem that I have been connected to so many of the people depicted on these walls. It is important to note that this is a work in progress, there are many people I would love to add and many more I have yet to meet.
These 40 images are a tiny sample of the rich diversity and complexity that is embodied in a community. This city of arts and innovation is not made up of bridges, buildings and businesses—it is made of the people who build, design and manage them. Ultimately these photographs aim to reflect on the individuals that add to the dynamism of a particular place, and highlight Winston-Salem in its uniqueness. They ask who we are in relationship to one other, building connections between disparate people who are all a part of the core of what makes a city, a place and a home.
-Rose Wind Jerome
A very special thank you to ANWS and to all of the beautiful people who sat
and allowed me to get very close to you, literally, with a camera and make a portrait
of you. And of course, thank you for making Winston-Salem better every day.