“…all the Negro women, they had become wise to this here cotton root. They would chew that and they would not give birth to a baby. All of their masters sho' did have to watch them, but sometimes they would slip out at night and get them a lot of cotton roots and bury them under their quarters.”
— Culpepper, “Gossypium spp. (Cotton Root Bark): A Symbol of Herbal Resistance”
Learning about this particular act of resistance struck me because cotton, King Cotton – this cash crop for which so many justified enslavement and brutality – had this new meaning.
But of course it didn't end there. Cotton root was just one element in an ongoing struggle for agency and control over the bodies of black women particularly.
Pario is a 3D bouquet. I chose the method of 3D modeling because I wanted to lean into its unreality. Moreover, I wanted the option to enable the viewer to interact with the bouquet. The Residency is, after all, about connecting, particularly in this time where we're hopefully keeping our distance.
Special thank you to Deanna Bowen for her mentorship and support during the residency.