Language is a memory-keeper, in forms of sound, word, and inflection. It has the ability to allow oneself to recollect a moment in the instant that it is recognized. I am obsessively inspecting these recollections that I find buried within the English language under the guise of nuances, dialects, and accents that have become familiar to me.
In a search for words I did not have the tongue to speak, I found myself gravitating back to the vernacular of my Black Southern family. Their broken, twisted, slurred English sentences were memories that I had forgotten and melodies that I longed to hear. It was there that the beauty inside of a language that I had disowned and thought of as noise, revealed itself.
The dichotomy of noise is that it is subjective, while it may be unpleasant to some, rightfully so it could be pleasant to others. Using photography as a tool I eliminate that noise and provide whoever is in the frame the ability to communicate without the barrier of language. Whether I am amongst people that are from communities like Nizamabad, India and the West End of Atlanta, I observed that language becomes something of its own and often misunderstood by Standard American English speakers. This is where, I, the photographer, become a translator. As a Black Woman, I am able to conduct this translation, create the space and provide a visual that now becomes a mutual understanding of what was not able to be said beforehand.
Sierra King (b. 1992) is a visual artist and archivist who works within the processes of photography, text, and sound. A native of Atlanta, Sierra received her Bachelor’s Degree in Art from Valdosta State University in 2014. Her works from an on-going series, “We Have Always Mattered” have been exhibited locally in group shows at Gallery 72, TILA Studios, and Facet Gallery. In 2017, she volunteered for a residency to teach English, Leadership, and Photography in Nizamabad, Telangana State, India with Atlanta Arts Non-Profit, ChopArt. Upon returning she curated “to whom much is given.”, a solo exhibition and installation, which showcased photographs and textile memories at TILA Studios.