Embodying Ancestry: Italy

Themes: hand-me-down, fashion, music, family, grief

“Me being the type of person that I am (I think I’ve been doing this since I was little) — I used to like to research, find little things, see what it is and discover it. So when my aunt passed away, I was going through closets trying to donate things and see what I could keep. And for me, I didn’t want to keep big valuables like a car or a cabinet. I actually wanted clothes because I thought she was always stylish. And style is something to this day I am still trying to find for me. So in memory of her, I just got some of her clothes. So with this sweater — it was like Bill Cosby kind of turtle neck situation — I cut off the shoulders so it could still be cute. And what I forgot was to really sew it back to keep it in tact. As you can see, as the years go by, it’s unravelling. It’s kind of my lounge around sweater, but it’s still warm. And it’s bright and I call it her Bill Cosby. Its very vibrant. My aunt was a very vibrant woman. Very outspoken. She had her moments when she was shy, but she was very outspoken and the clothes speak for themselves too.”

“My relationship to my ancestors goes as far as, of course, telling their stories. Also, remedies. I feel like that is another connection to my ancestors, remedies. And style. Just remembering different family members telling stories and it’s kind of like, “oh, I was there. Like I felt l was actually there in that moment. And then healing remedies. I’ve been talking about healing a lot and certain things that have been past down from my great-grandmother, to my grandmother, to my mom to me and what I pass on to other people. I think that’s a connection. The cooking. Just certain desserts or soups or just a certain meal, how it’s prepped and prepared. And little celebrations that my family do. We’d just all cook together and hang out. I think those are traditions, but also things that link back throughout my ancestry.”


“Me and my oldest brother, we collect albums. Throughout my whole family, we’ve always collected albums, vinyl records. One of my uncles was a DJ. When I say this man had records in his closet, on his book shelves… I mean just literally you’d walk into a whole museum of records. And I think that’s always been the thing for me and my family. Music is really important. It’s more than just a hobby. It’s life! It’s therapy. So collecting vinyls is something I enjoy doing. This drawing, this album cover reminds me of one of my brothers that passed away that used to draw all the time. And honestly, I got this album just because of the drawing and it reminded me of back in the days when he would draw. It just brought me joy. And just knowing that he’s still here even though he isn’t physically here, he’s here. That’s why I brought this album.”

More Participants

Lontia | Marylin | Amy | Jasmine | Christie | Geraldine | Patricia | Laura | Angela & Diana | Tsedaye | Eddie | Lola | Briana | Simone | SINI | Italy | Ekua | Anika | Reem | Bobo | Kei | Macy | Sarah | DaMonique | Nandi | Anise | Yadira

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