Looking For: A Slave Named...

Public installation: anondized aluminum sculpture

2003

McCallum & Tarry

Installation view: State University of New York, Purchase, NY

Looking For focuses on a family burial ground located on Purchase College campus. The text within the piece is based on 1800 census records, the will and distribution of Judge John Thomas Jr's slave property, and its alleged provision that some slaves were permitted a burial within the family cemetery. If these graves existed, they were left unmarked.

Through the use of ground penetrating radar, we searched for possible disturbances, possible unmarked graves, within the earth. What we discovered were some gravesites which extended beyond the c.1840 walls and into the adjacent field and parking lot.

This installation marked these graves and a gate placed at the cemetery's entryway was comprised of text from records which acknowledge the identity of these family slaves.