Abstract

This article analyzes two projects by Sadie Barnette, “Dear 1968 …” (2017) and Black Sky (2018), that draw from the 500+-page surveillance file the Federal Bureau of Investigation collected on her father Rodney Barnette, who was a member of the Black Panther Party’s chapter in Los Angeles. Barnette modifies the surveillance file with glitter paper and pink markings and situates them in immersive installations that include bedazzled family photographs and icons, such as Hello Kitty, that reference her girlhood in the 1980s. I discuss how the feminine semiotics in these projects simultaneously redact information in the FBI file to thwart the spectacularization of Black suffering, while annotating it with her decorative gestures as a form of intimate recognition for her father and Black people, as well as a Black feminist critique of white oppression and hetero-patriarchal ethno-nationalisms. I pay particular attention to how the feminine aesthetics in these works articulate Black girlhood as a site of visionary potential.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.