Sacred Ground – Home & Design Magazine

An artwork set up lends visibility and voice to Southern Maryland’s enslaved peoples

Earlier than development started on the Jamie L. Roberts Stadium in 2016, St. Mary’s School of Maryland launched into an excavation of the positioning—and uncovered proof of slave quarters that predated the school. “Regardless that I knew there was that historical past in Southern Maryland, it gave me pause,” displays St. Mary’s president Tuajuanda C. Jordan, the primary Black lady to serve in that function. “It put us on this path to know our historical past and lend voices to individuals who had been right here earlier than.” With assist from CODAworx, a community that promotes public artwork by connecting artists and designers with artistic alternatives, St. Mary’s School commissioned a commemorative for the positioning. In 2020, Absence to Presence, Commemorating Contributions of Enslaved Peoples was born.

The brainchild of Houston design agency RE:Web site, this immersive artwork set up stands beside the now-completed stadium, compelling passersby to cease and expertise it. The construction rises from a spot the place slave quarters as soon as stood—a reimagined slave home clad in a staggered sample of ipe clapboard and extremely reflective chrome steel. Erasure poetry, which recasts present written supplies by eradicating chosen phrases, makes use of 243 runaway-slave ads which were etched into the metal panels; composed by poet Quenton Baker, the phrases impose highly effective new that means on their hateful supply.

“We envisioned this personal area—the one one within the lives of enslaved peoples—as an emblem of resilience, dedication and persistence,” says Norman Lee, who collaborated on the mission with RE:Web site cofounder Shane Albritton. Go to

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