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Ashon T. Crawley

“in search of our mothers’ gardens”

Ashon T. Crawley

Mellon Fellow in Urban Landscape Studies (Fall 2022)

Titled “in search of our mothers’ gardens” the project is based on Alice Walker’s essay of the same name in which she discusses the way her mother's garden was a space of radiance, repair, refuge: “I notice that it is only when my mother is working in her flowers that she is radiant, almost to the point of being invisible—except as Creator: hand and eye.” “in search of our mothers’ gardens” will be as a multi-site living, growing garden art installation, using womanist and queer thought regarding beauty and delight of creating as its ethical thrust. Researching garden and landscape design is integral to the project's development.

Ashon Crawley is a writer, artist, and teacher, exploring the intersection of performance, blackness, queerness, and spirituality. Associate professor of Religious Studies and African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia, he is author of Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility (Fordham University Press) and The Lonely Letters (Duke University Press). He is currently working on a book about black social life; a book about the Hammond B3 organ, the black church, and sexuality; and a short story collection. Founder of the Otherwise Arts Lab, an integrative arts practice and space, he’s had art fellowships with Yaddo, MacDowell, New City Arts Initiative, and Gilead COMPASS Faith Coordinating Center. His audiovisual art has been featured at Second Street Gallery, Welcome Gallery, Bridge Projects and the California African American Museum. All his work is about otherwise possibility.