I wish to investigate and illustrate the relationship between two kinds of memory: the kind that is documented by mechanical recording devices, such as the camera, or preserved through historical materials such as maps, birth certificates, ledgers, and the kind of memory which resides in the recesses of the mind. — Terry Boddie, excerpt from artist statemet
In Terry Boddie‘s series The Residue of Memory, his photography serves to freeze past moments that have been adjourned, while his mark making re-invents and triggers life, movement, and realization.
The two very different methods combined, compliment each other suggesting the push and pull between what is true and what is false, in addition to the balance of remembering and forgetting. Concerns of exile, migration, globalization, as well as memory’s role in holding onto cultural traditions, are prevalent throughout his series and serve as his motivation in continuing his work.
Having gone through the education system in the United States, it was no wonder why Boddie was inspired to create School Days. What was being taught in schools was counterfeit to the true basis of African culture. The two children with British-style uniform (upper right hand corner) symbolizes something other than happy gallops to school, but the neglect of culture and leaving it behind; the undesired sacrifice for an education. As the piece unravels, it becomes more about “knowledge” than anything else.
In creating this piece, Boddie started with the investigation of the African language and writing system. As he was also involved with much printmaking at the time, he became highly interested in composition and the incorporation of various artistic mediums; photography, the use of pastels, with a printmaking foundation.
The grape leaf with face on the lower left was made with liquid photographic emulsion; a process of making ones own photo paper then adding color. Layering all of these components was a purposeful strategy, as it indicates the war between subjective and objective voices for the role of the narrator. Again, these are all choices made to emphasize the way education is disseminated to kids of African descent.
From here, all that was missing was that one element: color. The yellow oil stick used was intended to represent a sense of hope. Where this image served as a critic, the color stood to be uplifting as if to say “this is not a complete tragedy.” So when you look at Boddie’s piece, never forget that:
Knowledge is something that is both given to you AND something YOU discover. – Terry Boddie, interview on 7/16/13
En Foco offers a gorgeous limited edition print of School Days, 2000/2007, so if you’re interested in owning this timeless piece, be sure to collect yours soon while the opportunity lasts
Currently, Boddie’s work is hanging in the Longwood Art Gallery at Hostos Community College along with many others from our Print Collectors Program until August 30th, 2013.
Conveniently, En Foco’s New Works #16 Photography Fellowship Awards Exhibition is also on view until August 30th, featuring the work of Yijun Pixy Liao, Mercedes Dorame, Rodrigo Valenzuela, Daniel Ballesteros, and Jared Soares. We hope you can take a trip there, if you haven’t done so already!
Terry Boddie will have a solo exhibition at Aljira Center for Contemporary Art from September 26 to December 21, 2013 and a group exhibition at Paul Robeson Gallery at Rutgers University in Newark, September 3 – December 24, 2013.
To see more of his work, please visit