Julian Taylor Raiford ’21

Ceremony

The idea for Ceremony came to me when I was going through old family photographs with my grandparents and I was captivated by the fact that my family keeps all their photos in boxes rather than photo albums. Sorting through photos in a box rather than a linear album format produces a mixed narrative where images from 1960 can be immediately juxtaposed with images from the 2000s in a semi-random selection. I was really struck by how this patchwork of imagery across many eras is the perfect metaphor for the nature of memory. With this inspiration, I began to reify the experience of intergenerational, anti-linear narrative within my own photographic work as I combed through archival images and created new ones.

Within Ceremony, I have strategically studied the intergenerational cycles of struggle, triumph, and joy that exist within families and create patterns of softness and violence. My work posits that these soft and violent cycles create a sense of generational ceremony as each new generation inherits the traumas and joy of their ancestors, and thus become the culmination of the shared story of many individuals. I have been specifically working through these explorations in relation to my own personal experience of this within my family.

Major themes within this body of work are the slow erosion and reinvention of memory, home, and one’s sense of family. However, the true heart of the work lies in the intergenerational effort to preserve and honor one’s familial history while still moving forward firmly into the future. My work is attempting to make nostalgia both warm and uncomfortable and ask my audience to sit in the uncertainty of the moment between what was and what is yet to come.

Virtual Gallery Opening

A virtual gallery opening was held May 11th at 7 p.m. EST. Julian Taylor Raiford gave a talk on her work, which was followed by a Q&A with the artist.


Ceremony Videos

The Year of Watching, Waiting

Musical composition by William Shaw '21


Ceremony, Handbound Book