What Had Happened
In the ongoing series “What Had Happened”, the artist Dannielle Bowman creates an intimate and extensive picture of Black communities in the USA, focused on themes of interiority, exteriority, presentation, and the quotidian specific to Black American life. Bowman breaks with the documentary tradition by constructing scenes based on personal experience and memory. Family photos and other memorabilia, approachable portraits, intimate encounters, details of the immediate surroundings as well as neighbourhoods that are predominantly inhabited by Black people shape Bowman‘s imagery, which is told across generations. Although these quiet images are not always immediately accessible to viewers, the question arises as to what happens when subjective, personal stories meet larger social developments and contexts. “What Had Happened” can be read as an artistic field study that feeds itself on the tension between privacy and the larger socio-political context.