Review Santa Fe: Amanda Hankerson: The Hankersons
The search for identity is a powerful desire, even if you think you know who you are. Amanda Hankerson takes a comprehensive and unique look at the legacy and history of own family resulting in her project, The Hankersons, a series about discovering the truth behind a name that shares a complex legacy.
Through photography, Amanda explores how American identity can be constructed by an individual or group of people and how an identity can be altered through imagery. She is a recent recipient of a Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist Fellowship, a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant. Currently a photographer at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Amanda received her BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2004.
The Hankersons is a portrait series that connects the relatively small number of people who share my last name to the shared history of slaveholders and slaves spanning 260 years. Currently, there are fewer than three thousand people with the name Hankerson, all of whom live in the United States, while fewer than ten percent of whom identify as white. I am following the direct line to the Hankerson ancestors, with the aim of visually joining a fractured family narrative that has been stolen, lost or misremembered.
Amanda uses the social web to connect with people who share her last name. She visits Hankersons in their homes and spends time with each to create a personal connection, before engaging in portrait making. She then turns a room into a temporary portrait studio by setting up lights and photographing with a medium format digital camera. The result is a deconstructed family of individual portraits that are reconstructed to mirror a defining national experience.
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