Keisha Scarville, "Shoelaces", from "I Grew Up", 1999, Van Dyke Brown print.

Keisha Scarville, “Shoelaces”, from “I Grew Up”, 1999, Van Dyke Brown print.

Keisha Scarville

I grew up… inevitably, but the ghosts of childhood are still with me. One familiar smell or sound and I am swept away, nestled between my mother’s legs while she braids my hair. West Indian spices and Soul Train carried each other through the air. The sound of the wind rolling off the rooftops, climbing down the fire escape, and spilling into our apartment. I thought that those times would never change. Luckily, and sometimes regrettably, time didn’t stand still.

I used to keep a box filled with random objects under my bed…one small memento from all my adolescent encounters. Sometimes I would sit and sift through them in order to relive the moments that made each special. It wasn’t really about the object itself, but what it represented. I became intrigued by how these quite mundane objects sewn together told a story for me. They carried the tale of my family and life lessons.

This is the basis and inspiration for my work – the spaces and objects that trigger our memories. I believe our experiences, good or bad, joyful or tragic, create who we are. This series is about remembering, cherishing, and letting go.

Keisha Scarville earned her BS from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1998. She has shown her work at the Perkins Center for the Arts in Morristown, NJ; the A.I.R Gallery in NYC; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; the African American Museum in Long Island; and Soho Photo Gallery in NYC. She has presented lectures at the International Center of Photography and at New York University. Reviews of her work have appeared in the New York Times and CameraArts. Her work is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.