© Jazmine Harris

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Jazmine Harris

Chicago, Illinois

Artist Statement

Who are you?

Where are you from?

You see, not too many kids from my hood would ask, May I please have a blue raspberry and green apple snow cone. Instead, if you were to stand next to the Snow Cone man on the southwest corner of 50th and King Drive, with weeds growing out the cracks of concrete and ripped bags of flamin’ hot fries pinned down by shards of glass, you’d probably hear some kid make their request as a demand, Lemme get dat blue n dat green.

Perhaps my work is about how I refer to the flavor written in bold across the artificially-flavored syrup bottles, not its color, and how I was sometimes questioned about who I was, where I was from or labeled as talking “white.”

What does that even mean?

I know. Do you?

On second thought maybe, my work is about me growing up attending Trinity United Church of Christ, where I was first exposed to Black Liberation Theology. How could I not manifest the energy and power which surrounded me, as I sat on the scarlet red pews hearing people shout with convection early Sunday morning, We Are Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian.

Then again, maybe my work is about collective memory. What does it mean to purchase a home, raise kids, or grow up in a neighborhood historically disenfranchised and written off as “bad” by a map drenched in red?

Better yet, how does a third-generation, Black, middle-class Chicagoan develop generational wealth in an infrastructure set up for them to fail? Have Grandma Ruth’s and Great Granny Elsie Mae’s dreams and hope for their children and children’s children been fulfilled, or have they, in the words of Langston Hughes, dried up like a raisin in the sun? I’m unsure, but maybe Lorraine Hansberry can offer a clue.
I’ve always assumed I had something to tell people.

I feel the same, Ms. Hansberry. Me too!

Now what that something is, and how that something has taken form, is grounded by the deeply intimate. The personal is political in the work that I create. Using photography, video, and archival materials, I frequently acknowledge the past in an attempt to understand the present. In this sense, there are no answers in my work. Maybe there's only hope for a future where "the Other" no longer exists.

© Jazmine Harris

Jazmine Harris's Portfolio

© Cathy Hsiao

Artist Biography

Through photography, video, and text, Jazmine. deconstructs personal, communal, and political narratives. Memory, both found and fabricated, serves as her primary material; the acts of remembrance inform and shape the processes she employs. As she addresses the beauty and failure of collective memory, Jazmine. seeks to mine, archive, and reimagine impressions left on the personal as one navigates the everyday familiar and unknown.

Jazmine. holds a BS from Florida A&M University, an MFA from The University of Chicago, and is currently a 2021 Writing Fellow for A Public Space.



© Dominic Hawgood

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