Stripping the maritime alphabet of its primary colors and replacing them with muted browns and blacks, Mourning/Warning highlights the relationship of Americans of the African diaspora to water, maritime travel and the need for an alternate means of communication in times of emergency and duress. How do you send a warning call that hatred comes constantly in waves?
The Mourning/Warning set contains alphabetical maritime flags of sewn nylon with digitally printed books. An Abecedarian serves as the key for using the flags. The Numbers and Repeaters book showcases the remaining flag system. The M/W flags set serves as a method of memorializing the slain and wronged, and of teaching our children and ourselves to be vigilant and wary in hostile terrain, where your skin color makes you an easy target.
A book artist and printmaker exploring the intersection of race, history, and perception, Blassingame often incorporates archival research and her own poetry in her artist’s book projects for nuanced discussions of racism in the United States. She holds a B.A. in Architecture from Princeton University, M.A. in Book Arts from Corcoran College of Art + Design, and M.F.A. in Printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design. Blassingame has been an artist-in-residence at Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, Santa Fe Art Institute, and the International Printing Center New York (IPCNY). Her artist’s books and prints can be found in library and museum collections including Library of Congress, Columbia University, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and State Library of Queensland. Blassingame is an Assistant Professor of Book Arts at Scripps College and serves as the Director of Scripps College Press.