Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Art and Design

First Advisor

Craig Dongoski

Second Advisor

Teresa Bramlette Reeves

Third Advisor

Anthony Craig Drennen

Fourth Advisor

Joseph Peragine

Fifth Advisor

Larry Walker


(Unrelated), a series of language-based works made up of chalkboard drawings, dictionary erasures and accumulations of text, highlights the inability of language to fully capture notions of modern racial identity. Rather, in (Unrelated), definitions are hidden, revealed, allowed and humored, but rarely settled. It is natural to seek delineation between oneself and all else, but it is a particularly persistent urge for those who engage in the pursuit of racial clarity. In To Be Real, an essay which heavily influenced this body of work, Danzy Senna writes: “Growing up mixed in the racial battlefield of Boston, I yearned for something just out of my reach- an ‘authentic’ identity to make me real. Everyone but me, it seemed at the time, fit into a neat cultural box, had a label to call their own.”[1] (Unrelated) quietly explodes the “neat cultural box.”

[1] Senna, Danzy. "To Be Real," To Be Real: Telling The Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism, ed. Rebecca Walker (New York: Anchor, 1995) 6.