This is Justine, in the 1930’s her great grandmother moved her family from New York to the Watts neighborhood in south Los Angeles amid a backdrop of intense racial discrimination. One of the many faces this discrimination took was in the form of housing covenants, deed restrictions and extralegal measures that restricted minorities from living in many parts of Los Angeles. They were limited by covenants as well as a narrow access to financing known as redlining. These covenants were a part of southern California housing since the late nineteenth century and they were struck down partially in 1948 and then completely in 1953.
The words I chose to use in the formation of this portrait are sections from current residential deeds that still to this day contain the covenants restricting ownership to whites only, though they lack any legal standing. I also chose to use the words from the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Justine stands as a testament to her family’s strength and tenacity in the face of a system of governance that is biased against them.
“Justine” 60″x37″ Ink on panel