At this very moment
By Dawline-Jane Oni-Eseleh
During this period of social isolation digital platforms have become crucial in bridging gaps in social interaction. In my personal experience, the hardest parts of navigating this time have involved missing out on connecting to create tangible artifacts. As a full time teaching artist I spend a lot of time facilitating visual communication and various points of view with artists to create physical pieces of art. That came to abrupt halt when shelter in place was enforced, but the need to create physical records still remains.
There has been a rush to respond to this moment that leaves out some of the nuance and “realness” of it. Many of us have been spending an unprecedented time at home or in our own home bases. For me, this has afforded an opportunity to interact with my space in a new way, investigate what works for me and what doesn’t, cook meals and dive deeper into what physical nourishment means, and connect with my neighbors in new ways, including non verbal communication and eye contact because of face masks. In contrast, when I connect to friends and loved ones online, a lot of the focus is on the bigger moments, things “worthy” of transmitting.
For this project I asked community members to capture some of those deep, powerful, “small” moments to create a physical record of our time apart, and send me the digital photograph. I then printed these pictures as polaroids to create a tangible record of our daily lives during these times of quarantine, shelter in place, and social change. The process of converting these digital images into photos altered them slightly, shifting colors, softening resolution, obliterating details and cropping out certain elements, which mimics the way that history gets passed down. The resulting artifacts tell a story of life in Richmond at this very moment.
– Dawline-Jane Oni-Eseleh
About the Artist: Dawline-Jane Oni-Eseleh has been a part of the Richmond Art Center community since she began there as a teaching artist in 2016. She in based out of Oakland, CA, where she continues to work as a teaching artist, educational facilitator, illustrator, and exhibiting visual artist with a full time studio practice. www.dawlinejaneart.com
Special thanks to our Richmond Art Center community contributors, without whom this project would not have been possible: Alissa Anderson, Alison Ahara-Brown, Amber Avalos, Coleen Haraden-Gorski, Erin McClusky Wheeler, Irene Wibawa, Laura Kamian, Melody Serra, Janet Lipkin, Jocelyn Jones, For The Barrios, Emily Ross, Holly Carter, Shantanice Swain, Chiara Sottile