Debra Priestly; somewhere listening: Company B, 365th Infantry Regiment, 92nd Division, A.E.F. 1918-1919; 2014; Charcoal pencil on paper, mounted on board, 212 panels; installation: 28 x 294 in. (72.12 x 746.76 cm.). Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia. Museum Purchase. © Debra Priestly. All images (detail) except for the bottom image.
somewhere listening: Company B, 365th Infantry Regiment, 92nd Division, A. E. F. 1918 – 1919, 2014 is an installation of 212 charcoal pencil portraits measuring 28 x 294 inches. Vertical panels (12 x 3, 5 x 5 and 9 x 3 inches) are presented in a long horizontal grid that is three rows high. Each portrait is surrounded by a one-inch space. My intention is to prompt the viewer to pause and consider each man as an individual. The source photograph is a WWI panorama of an African American infantry (a Buffalo Soldier Division). It comes from my maternal grandmother’s family archive and hung in her bedroom for over seventy years, honoring her brother Noah. somewhere listening is an ongoing series of drawings, paintings, and multimedia installations, which address presence, absence, and transformation.
April 30, 2019