The carceral landscape had a water birth. Tia-Simone Gardner’s first Canadian exhibition will explore the legacy of the Mississippi River, the second-largest watershed in North America, its relationship to the transatlantic slave trade and the development of the United States’ economy. Gardner uses archival documentation and digital mapping technology to reflect on how the river is a tool of enclosure within the slavery industrial complex. The Mississippi River, is the basis of the carceral landscape; the riverboats represent technologies of transportation and enclosure. This landscape is used as a tool of oppression, involving the formation of oppositional geography where Black people are treated as economic objects. The slave ship is a location of Black subjectivity, human terror and Black resistance.
Tia-Simone Gardner is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and Black feminist scholar. Working primarily with drawing, images, archives, and spaces, Gardner traces Blackness in landscapes, above and below the grounds surface. Ritual, disobedience, geography and geology are spectres and recurring themes in her work. Gardner grew up in Fairfield, Alabama, across the street from Birmingham and learned to see landscape, capitalist extraction, and containment, through this place. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.