Revisionist History and the Philosophy of TILA Studios
Updated: Mar 4, 2018
Author: Tiffany Latrice
Revisionist History is defined as a modification to a long-standing view, event or historical moment. Revisionist history serves as form of resistance. It is the sheer act of rewriting narratives to include voices that have been historically omitted.
In my adolescent years, It never dawned on me that black history was a form of revisionist history. My mother’s 365 days of black invention and history was her own subtle act of rewriting history in our household.
It was through my collegiate career studying gender, culture and global relations and in the women’s history program at Sarah Lawrence, that I learned that a revisionist approach was the only way I was going to find black women artists and innovators. Once I delved in the canon of art history in the 19th century, I discovered Meta Warrick Fuller, a 19th century sculptor from Philadelphia. When I discovered her, I saw myself and I immediately wanted to know more about her body of work, who she spent time with, and what she did.
My curiosity led me to discover they ways in which Meta leveraged her close friendships and relationships with other black women to attain success and courage to keep going. Without Angelina Weld Grimke, Alice Dunbar, Meta Warrick Fuller would not have created her prolific sculpture of Mary Turner.
When these three women heard of the atrocities that happened to Mary Turner in Valdosta, GA. They began to feverishly write letters about how to commemorate Mary Turner’s life after she was lynched, burned, and slaughter at the hands of mob violence after she protested her husband’s lynching.
When I learned of Nina Simone’s relationship with Lorraine Hansberry, I was overjoyed at learning the energy, intimacy and creativity they shared.
When I discovered Pat Parker and Audre Lorde’s friendship and how they confided in each other, I knew that sisterhood is necessary for survival.
Pat wrote to Audre, “You really are a bright light and are perhaps the best person in the world for shoving me out of my prosperity for self pity.” And Audre wrote to Pat, “Remember the body needs to create too. Beware feeling you’re not good enough to deserve it.”
TILA Studios was created to to hold space for these stories, to value these stories for future generations so they will never be forgotten. I use these stories to inspire, empower, and equip black women artists that they emerged from a history and community of connectivity and authenticity.