In February 2005, I drove past my grandmother’s house on East Bay Street to find a bulldozer sitting on top of it.
We had not booked any bulldozer. We had no intention of demolishing the house. My cousin Margot and I had in fact begun the long, slow process of renovation. The house had been demolished “by accident”. It is an accident that will never be repaired.
My cousin Margot Bethel and I are creating an installation that weaves words and images, poems, plans and models, to commemorate, to reincarnate, the house that was destroyed. We call the exhibition “If”, in part because that little word expresses longing, wishfulness, hope and regret. It was also used by our family as a means of expressing emphatic agreement, as in: “Did it hurt?” “If!” or “Did you look fabulous?” “If!”
We see it as the beginning of a long-term project of reclamation.
The Granddaughter Fixes Lily's Roof (1988)picture now a tall girla bald girlnonot quite bald a blondblack girl who’sjust come home &just come outwho’smade herself a carpenter &’sfixing Lily’s roofnot the tall roofnot the roof of the houseraised high on blockswith four feet of spacebeneath its floor it'sthe roof next doorto the shop whereLily sold bread & Lilysold candy& Clement taught piano& all the childrenplayed just once*transformingspaces | National Art Gallery of the Bahamas.