Bronx-based artist Abigail DeVille creates immersive multimedia installations that focus on storytelling and reviving forgotten narratives and encourage us to rethink the past, present, and future— especially the experiences of Black Americans.
Inspired by the titular book of poetry by Langston Hughes, DeVille’s exhibition The Dream Keeper occurs in two parts: at The Sculpture Center and at Quincy Garden in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood, where Hughes resided as a teen. During a series of visits to the city, DeVille conducted extensive research into the material and cultural histories of the region, unearthing stories and re-weaving frayed narratives. Guided by the question, “Who are the dream keepers in Cleveland?” she explored Cleveland history from Indigenous times to the present, Native American tools, fossils, and local storytellers that have preserved factions of Cleveland culture and history.
At TSC’s Euclid Gallery she presents a labyrinthine installation of found materials that will serve as the backdrop for the results of her research, which include discoveries like the warren of salt mines below Lake Erie. Her outdoor installation at the Fairfax neighborhood’s Quincy Garden is a gathering of semi-figurative and abstract sculptures that references the tradition of African American yard art. Each figure carries the cast face of a member of the community, the storytellers helping to preserve the narrative of Cleveland.