What does inheritance mean to you?

Webster Merriam Dictionary defines inheritance as:

1: something that is or may be inherited. 2a: the act of inheriting property. b: the reception of genetic qualities by transmission from parent to offspring. c: the acquisition of a possession, condition, or trait from past generations.

Inheritance/SHACK is a socially engaged collaborative art project inspired by artist Beverly Buchanan’s vernacular shack sculptures – loose interpretations of the cabins that punctuate the Southern landscape. We gathered a group of thirteen community residents from Brooklyn to learn carpentry to design, build, and install shack-like sculptures (birdhouses). Community members engaged deeply with notions presented in Buchanan’s work surrounding domestic architecture as a cultural, economic, and environmental metaphor. Inheritance/SHACK is a space of inquiry for enacting rituals of collective learning, dialogue and speculative imagining about the meaning of inheritance, the cultural necessity of holding African American space and the cultural, symbolic significance of Weeksville.

How do we as black people build on inheritances of the past, accept the present and nurture new spaces of care and joy, creativity and transformational possibility?

Inheritance/SHACK expands on themes of the socially engaged work, The Red Line Archive Project. Social Engaged Practice is an art medium focused on engaging Individuals, communities, institutions, in creation of a participatory artwork.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by funds from New York State Council for the Arts, Brooklyn Arts Council, Mellon Foundation and Grow Brownsville.

On View
June 18, 2024 – July 27, 2024

Artist: Walis Johnson

Curator and Collaborator: Alexis Mena

Photos Credits: Murray Cox:  Red Line Archive Project; Ralston Smith: Inheritance/SHACK