Artist Talk with Ireashia Monét at Build Coffee -- April 13, 2018

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"For many many years, I wanted to talk to somebody about it. And when [they] began to ask me, I just began to flow." Gwen Bennett, in conversation with her grandchild Ireashia Monét, about the domestic abuse and violence she experienced over the course of her life.

On April 13 the lovely folks at Build Coffee hosted me for the opening of "The Pearls My Mother Gave Me," my ongoing exploration of intergenerational trauma, the residual effects of abuse in the lives of the women in my family, and my personal fight toward radical healing and self-love. 

At 6:30 we screened “Grandma’s Wisdom (2016)” and “The Pearls You Gave Me (2018).” Afterward, I held a public conversation with my grandmother on the series. For the first time, Gwendolyn Bennett spoke about her experience working on “Grandma’s Wisdom” and how it has changed how she sees herself as an older black woman, as well as the impact of feeling heard and understood.

 Photography by J. Michael Eugenio

Photography by J. Michael Eugenio

"The Pearls My Mother Gave Me" combines photo, video, and audio to create oral and visual documentation of the healing properties of the rural South and Monét’s process of understanding their maternal family history. In doing so, they actively preserve what little they still have to trace the blood memory which binds them to their ancestors. This memory is revealed through spiritual experiences, love, and a fight to survive. The result is a raw and honest body of work that simultaneously celebrates and examines the complexity of motherhood, black queerness, and an intrinsic right to be free. It will be on display at Build Coffee through June 2018. 

"For many many years, I wanted to talk to somebody about it. And when [they] began to ask me, I just began to flow." Gwen Bennett, in conversation with her grandchild Ireashia Monét, about the domestic abuse and violence she experienced over the course of her life.

Ruminations on that trauma are present in Monét's short films THE PEARLS YOU GAVE ME and GRANDMA'S WISDOM. Both films were shown last month at a gathering in Build Coffee. Afterward, Monét and Bennett dove into a discussion on intergenerational trauma and healing.

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The bumper at the beginning featured Chicago scholar, artist, and activist Eve Ewing and was produced by Jed Lickerman.

Ireashia Monét