Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) was pleased to welcome Kelly Taylor Mitchell to our Artist-in-Residence program in summer 2018.
For her residency, Kelly researched Minnesota’s “Pilgrims,” a group of formerly enslaved Civil War soldiers and their families who fled the south for Minnesota. Mitchell created a limited varied edition suite of three artist books as well as an in-response open edition of zines and poetry chapbooks which worked to historicize the present by sharing oral histories and decentering narratives of colonization. Mitchell’s project explored how the stories of the Minnesota “Pilgrims” contextualize place-making in Minnesota for new and diverse populations, and inform a collective history of community building, confronting obstacles, and reciprocity in the state.
Kelly Taylor Mitchell is an installation, book, and print artist currently based in Rhode Island. Mitchell’s work recontextualizes oral histories in order to navigate the intertwined decolonial landscape of “Black” trauma and “Black” joy. Concepts of land tenure, territorial claims, community autonomy, inherited identity, and maronage act as an anchor in a cobbling of identity. Mitchell holds a BFA in printmaking from Tufts University, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and in May will receive an MFA in printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design.