Ashley A. Ross
By intertwining allegorical portraits and black and white photographs, this body of work utilizes portraiture and personal familial memorabilia to portray concepts surrounding indoctrination and identity within the confines of a religious upbringing. Whether conveyed through visual allegories or the artist's intimate and nuanced exploration of religion and family, each photograph symbolizes the introspective reflection and recollection that arises when one confronts their past religious experiences.
The title, 10/27/03, represents a date taken from a certificate given to the artist during childhood, following their baptism. This certificate marked their "spiritual birthday" and signaled the beginning of a "new birth experience". The date serves as a metaphor, signifying the conclusion of a child's naive perception of life as they comprehend it, and the beginning of a "spiritual rebirth".
This body of work calls to question who gets to constitute the spiritual value of a Black adolescent and how growing up with stringent belief systems can influence how one's identity is formed.
About the Author
Ashley A. Ross is a photographer and visual artist based in the San Francisco-Bay Area. Her personal work explores cultural aspects of black existence, lineage, and traditions. Utilizing allegorical portraiture and personal memorabilia to investigate memories of the black adolescent experience and make connections between understanding how these experiences contribute to and inform our identity. She has been showcased both independently as well as included in group exhibitions. In 2021, she was selected for the SF Camerawork: Forecast and the following year, selected as a 2022 - 2023 Emerging Artist Program Awardee at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco.