Heritage Braided

Akiko Jackson, Virginia Commonwealth University


The awareness of marginality, oppression, and hierarchy at an early age directly influences the creation of work specific to my identity as a woman of color. Born and raised on an island in the Pacific Ocean, I was aware of my sense of location and space relative to the world. The vast ocean separating me from the ‘mainland’ created a specific understanding of marginality, of what is “main” and what is “minor,” and how these categorical placements continued from my youth to ongoing perpetuation. The work I create has a subtle and persistent investigation into my identity as a socio-economic and ethnic minority woman. I attempt to translate and address my identity and cultural significance by creating works that bring about question and dialogue dealing with cultural normative values. My work subtly addresses theories of alienation, burden, heritage, and identity. I use materials and/or focus on importance of materiality to imply an inherent meaning through historical root, core, and/or initial function. Often this function has fixed placement in certain cultures and society. Although the work is visually and conceptually dark in nature, the desired feeling includes a very physical response while coexisting within the installation’s environment.