Kija Lucas: In Search of Home
In Search of Home is created from plant clippings, rocks, and dirt collected–and then scanned–while Kija Lucas traced her ancestors' paths from the moment they entered the United States to the present.
ABOUT THE EXHIBIT
Driving across the country with stops along the East Coast, South and Midwest, Kija visited 11 sites where her ancestors were brought, migrated through, or settled. In the intervening years some of the sites have been redeveloped many times over, but in every case the construction, renovation or cultivation was wrought on land her ancestors walked, lived, and worked on.
This personal inquiry is informed by the work of Carl Linnaeus, Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, whose taxonomy, outlined in Systema Naturae (1735), is still used to identify and order living things. Though Linnaeus began with plants and animals, his classification of humans into four races fed ideas of racial inequality and difference that we are still grappling with today.
My family tree is Eastern-European Jewish, African American, and English, with each branch entering the United States through vastly different circumstances and experiencing racial inequality from a different perspective. In this project, I have treated the plants-whether cultivated plants or weeds, native, nonnative, and even invasive species-in the same fashion, asking the viewer to consider how we choose what is natural, beautiful, and useful.