Erika Adkins: The Constitution Series

2018 VA One Drop 9 x 12.jpg
2018 VA Trio 4 x 12.jpg

Erika Adkins: The Constitution Series

I first began this series with a question; just what does the US Constitution say? 

Since I learn best when I write something down, I started by transcribing the document in longhand. It was humbling, in this age of texting, to sit down and write, my hand occasionally cramping, all the while berating my penmanship, my sloping lines, and my constrained vowels. 

I came to wonder at the remarkableness of the document – that a group of people were able to discuss and argue and finally agree on how to shape a country. It also angered me, to read and copy the parts that guaranteed the continuance of slavery and the extradition of those slaves, ensuring a deep social and economic disparity that impacts us to date. 

I then took these handwritten pages and used them as parts of the imagery that came to mind as I thought of my own constitution; that which makes me ME. I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with regular trips to family in Charlottesville, Virginia. Revisiting the Constitution had me thinking about those two geographies. How did those two states fare during the creation of the Constitution? The Civil War? Reconstruction? 

Each piece needed to have a portion of this document – embedded in the wax, as it is embedded in our lives. In some pieces it is woven, the fabric holding us together. Is it strong? Is it tenuous?

Finally, I wanted these pieces to be abstract – as words are an abstraction, a placeholder for meaning and ideas. Since this series was specifically created for showing at Bamboo, I also sought to reflect the aesthetic of the space, one which encourages contemplation, awareness, and beauty.


Erika Adkins

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