Non-institutionally affiliated artists, cultural workers, public historians, and knowledge-creators that mine and creatively interpret special collections materials from the Sheridan Libraries’ rare book, manuscript, and archival collections.

Nicoletta Daríta de la Brown

Be(longing): Unveiling the Imprint of Black Women Hidden in Plain Sight (2023)

Award-winning interdisciplinary artist Nicoletta Daríta de la Brown explored and activated archival materials related to Ethel Ennis, Billie Holiday, and African American real photo postcards by staging the installation Be(longing): Unveiling the Imprint of Black Women Hidden in Plain Sight at the George Peabody Library, from Nov 14-Dec 1, 2003. Through video, self-portraits, and site-specific performance, de la Brown addressed deeply introspective and politically significant questions: “How many Black women are living in archives? What happens to us when we are invisible? How can I feel seen, and safe, as a Black woman?”

De la Brown scanned African American real photo postcards, printed them on fabric, and used the fabric to construct garments. “I saw them and wanted to know more,” she said of the images she unearthed from the archives of the Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries. “What were their lives like? What were their struggles? How could I, as a Black woman from Baltimore, engage with them and bring their stories back to life, even in an intangible way?”

De la Brown discussed her creative process with Hopkins undergraduate students enrolled in Joseph Plaster’s Public Humanities & Social Justice, Fall 2023 talked about the importance of archival explorations at a public talk, on November 14, 2023, titled “Activating the Archive.”

a garment with photos of black women printed on it

Hoesy Corona

The Latinx Art Culture and Memory Archive (2023)

Hoesy Corona, a latinx queer artist of Mexican descent, interpreted special collections materials by highlighting absences and producing new archival sources. Inspired by an artwork titled “La Lección” (the lesson) from the Sheridan Libraries’ Prints: Mexican, he created an experimental “social sculpture” titled The Latinx Art Culture and Memory Archive (TLACMA). The TLACMA is a set of 12 museum boxes containing 12 unique books, paper documents, and 11 audio interviews, housed in Special Collections, which documents the contributions of contemporary Latinx artists, curators, and scholars in Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC.

The TLACMA is also a physical steel sculpture in the form of a red circulation library cart, which, Corona writes, “functions as a physical and symbolic representation of the longing for a comprehensive collection of Latinx histories in the U.S.”

Corona’s TLACMA pop-up exhibit was on view at Baltimore’s Creative Alliance in February, 2024 and at the Central Library of the Enoch Pratt Free Library March – April, 2024.

a photo of books on a red book cart