I wanted to share a project I'm working on for a Land Art exhibition called Terra Incognita. Terra Incognita in the 21stcentury is used metaphorically to describe areas or subjects that are unfamiliar or uncharted. It's used frequently in science fiction and fantasy literature to describe otherworldly or imaginary places. I'm hella excited (and scared) about this opportunity. Though It's representative of the multi-faceted approach to my work as an Outdoor Futurist, it's new, and that is always frightening.
As the founder and principal of Black Earth United, I am dedicated to creating solutions that dismantle barriers for the African Diaspora to enjoy the outdoors. As this business continues to morph through products, workshops, storytelling, and now land art, I see a path to broaden my audience and continue to break new ground as an Outdoor Futurist with a focus on Black Quantum Futurism, Speculative Design, Afrofuturism, and Noble Leadership. So, I decided to approach Land Art in the same way I prototype the apparel; with the focus being on new futures that center on Black liberation and healing with the land from the trauma of slavery, forced labor, and the frightening realities that still exist in Being Black Outdoors.
In researching, I was drawn to the connections between the sky, water, and land. When I was working on the piece for the River Democracy Act last summer, I was reminded in reading the bill that there is no separation between these elements. The beautiful concert between sky, water, and land is so complex, and reading more about these 3 elements and their interdependence was inspiring and a reminder of how essential understanding the health and balance of ecosystems and the world we live in is to the survival of all of us.
Diving into the sky's critical role in the outdoors, my ancestor guardians of the past guided me, as always. I discovered, deep in the 2,3000 first-person accounts of enslavement from the 1930s, a breathtaking story as told by Jane Clark and her witnessing of the Leonid’s meteor shower.
Jane was contracted to work on a small plantation. Her daily sustenance was hella sparse - just a pint of cornmeal, seasoned with salt and water, then baked in the ashes. Her primary task was to fetch water from a spring far away, together with two other children, to serve the needs of all the plantations. These three little ones would start their journey at the crack of dawn, making two trips before breakfast, two more before dinner, and one last journeys before supper. The pails of water they carried upon their heads had worn the hair from their heads.
One morning, while on their way to the spring, something otherworldly happened. The stars themselves fell from the sky. The sight was so remarkable that it remained vivid in Jane's memory. The children were not alarmed by this never-before-seen event, but instead ran along, eager to catch the stars as they plummeted to the ground.
I'm so stoked to share this project’s inspiration and the evolution of my brand and business into new and uncharted territory.