Art of This World: Dwayne Rodgers and the Black Vernacular


Photographer Dwayne Rodgers did a collaborative project, Black Vernacular, in which people submitted photographs of their ancestors as part of a digital communal alter. Okayplayer interviewed him:

“What is “The Black Vernacular” – what’s it all about?

The Black Vernacular is a digital altar that I created in collaboration with friends from “real life,” Twitter and Facebook to memorialize our ancestors.

Tell us a bit about how you came up with the concept for this project.

The concept grew out of me thinking about history and Black history in particular.  We generally celebrate history by (re)highlighting people who’s names are already widely known.  Part of the purpose of this project is to shift the paradigm of the “great person” conception of history.  While of course the famous should be acknowledged, I think we should also acknowledge the everyday person for their contribution to our collective legacy.  Martin Luther King did not walk alone.  James Brown, while remarkably original and talented, channeled a particular spirit -a culture- that he absorbed from being around people whose names we never hear publicly.  But each of those people have families and friends for whom they are an intimate and integral part of their story…”

Read the rest here

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