Keris Salmon

We Have Made These Lands
What They Are:



The institution of slavery is the foundation for our modern American economy and fractured social and racial condition.

It cleared the ground for Jim Crow, the Great Migration, unequal education, redlining, the erosion of voting rights, mass incarceration and our current immigration policy, to name a few. My project exposes these physical and metaphorical blueprints with the hope for a national reckoning.

As a multi-media storyteller,  it’s important for me to present historical truths and frame them in contemporary contexts, to offer deeper understandings of our place in this nation. I’ve spent the past three years documenting ante-bellum southern plantations and slave dwellings through text and image. The resulting project is called, “We Have Made These Lands What They Are: The Architecture of Slavery.” As a journalist I am drawn to storytelling through words, and as a visual artist I respect the way an image can bring a text alive. As a filmmaker I’m refreshing the documentary form, working instead with still imagery. And as an African-American, I aim in my process to explore the many significant links between my peoples' past and present.
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“The juxtaposition — of placid, sometimes decrepit architecture and buoyant wildlife with these primary texts — is arresting.”

Keith A. Spencer, Salon

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My work over the past several years represents a multi-media artistic practice focusing on family histories and their links to the present.