Sugarcane & Lightning (Signed)

Sugarcane & Lightning (Signed)


Adrian L. Burrell employs multiple modalities of imagery and storytelling to, in his words, “create a visual meditation on my family's untold history. Reinterpreting and archiving these histories creates a space for collective memory to challenge erasure, and explore the knowledge that Black kinship networks reveal.” 

Burrell, who grew up surrounded by three generations of his family in Oakland, California, worked with an investigative genealogist while researching his family’s experiences in Louisiana, and tracing further to their origins in West Africa. His monograph combines his writing, photographs and footage with found letters and personal correspondence, pages from family albums, and stills from home videos, making fluid geographies and collapsing time. 

Through installations, films, and this publication, Burrell aims to offer a model for other Black Americans of similar backgrounds to reimagine their narratives by drawing on the speculative nature of memory, and asserting documentation of multigenerational oral histories.