Sleeping by the Bayou: Tammy Mercure
December 14, 2019 – January 5, 2020
Opening: Saturday, Dec 14, 6-10 pm
Sleeping by the Bayou is an exploration of the ten cemeteries of St Bernard Parish. The cemeteries contain the rich history of the area and the current state of the parish. With cultural changes in death customs and climate change, the cemeteries are increasingly hard to keep up. The cemeteries include the defunct True Love Cemetery, a former cemetery for the enslaved people of the Sebastopol Plantation that continued until 2001; Saint Bernard Catholic Cemetery which predates St Louis I by two years, the defunct E.E. Matt Pet Cemetery, the First Baptist Church of Verrettville Cemetery which is run by the direct descendant of the Rev Samual Smith who founded the cemetery in the 1870s; and more.
This exhibition is made up of photographs and texts drawn from the artist’s research, documentation, and collation of stories.
As the project continues, the next goals are to complete the listings at Find A Grave, work with the cemetery caretakers to identify areas for volunteerism and to help coordinate volunteers and funding for maintenance, documentation, and finding a way to memorialize lost cemeteries.
Tammy Mercure (b.1976) was named one of the “100 under 100: The New Superstars of Southern Art” by Oxford American magazine. She is one of the fifty photographers represented in the traveling exhibition “Southbound: Photographs of and About the New South” originating at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, SC. Her work has been exhibited at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, the William King Museum in Abingdon VA, and Tracy Morgan Gallery in Asheville. She has been featured on CNN Photos, VICE, Daily Mail, GQ, NPR Big Picture Show, and more. She was published in the Southern Cultures, Guardian UK (Big Picture), Oxford American and in the book “Place, Art, and Self” by Yi-Fu Tuan. She has a BA from Columbia College Chicago and an MFA from East Tennessee State University. She lives in Violet, LA (outside of New Orleans).
Her work concerns the rites and rituals of the American South and the relationship one has to the land. She often works in book form starting with a popular monthly zine series using letterpress in 2012. She has continued to make books and designed Polo Silk’s “Pop That Thang” in 2017. She has spoken on the subject in many panel discussions, taught a one-day book workshop for PhotoNOLA, and curated three unique book exhibitions at Antenna called the Blue Library.