Lydia A. Harris: Collier Heights

10:00 am on Wednesday, September 4, 2013
5:00 pm on Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Contact Name:
Francine Weiss
For the past four years, Lydia A. Harris has been photographing Collier Heights, a neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia that was developed, financed, designed, and constructed in the 1950s and 1960s predominantly by and for African Americans. This exhibition features Harris’s portraits of the Collier Heights residents and photographs of the interiors of their homes. Harris’s intimate portraits show the proud homeowners of Collier Heights, from the original residents to the second and third generation residents and newcomers. Through photographs of the interiors of the residents’ homes, Harris reveals not only the individual personalities of residents, but also the popular design styles of the 1950s and 1960s. More broadly, Harris’s photographs of rooms reflect the social, historical, and cultural uses of space. The prevalence of elaborate bars and recreational rooms in Harris’s photographs, for instance, reflects the nation’s history of segregation; unable to socialize in public spaces, many of the original residents of Collier Heights created rooms at home for entertaining. Harris’s poignant documentary photographs, in the words of the artist, “tell a story of the Collier Heights community—the interconnected lives, from the beginning when the residents had few other choices of where to live to the present when their neighborhood has been recognized for its architecture and the tight knit bonds among its residents.”