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beloved stands in the river, looking up with arms raised.

The Only Grace They Could Have Is The Grace They Could Imagine

Idris Young


These three photographs are a part of a collection of 8 images inspired by Toni Morrison's Beloved and the not always visible yet violent legacy of slavery and how grief itself lingers. As stated in the novel, “Not a house in the country ain’t packed to its rafters with some dead Negro’s grief.” In the novel Beloved is a child killed by her mother but she becomes more than that. Beloved’s mother wanted to kill all her children, but Beloved was the first. The child comes to represent the 6 million slaves who died crossing the Atlantic ocean. One of the concepts that Beloved emphasizes is that the landscape itself is haunted by the horrors of slavery. In these photographs I aim to compositionally depict this interaction between the black body and the landscape, specifically water(return to what we died crossing). What these photographs aim to highlight is that black people have had to do unspeakable things to protect from the unspeakable violence committed against our bodies/spaces. There’s such thing as loving too fiercely however it is justified within the conditions. The only way to move forward is to forgive ourselves and survive, to live with the ghosts.