In this article the author questions Carrie Mae Weems’s use of conceptualist and appropriative strategies to conjure the persistent unresolved feelings that result from the historical and continued trauma of black people. Weems’s series From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried (1995) both draws on and critiques conventions of documentary photography. Containing appropriated archival photographs, her works are often interpreted as the artist subverting visual stereotypes of black people in order to commemorate their lives and experiences. The author explores the formal strategies Weems employs to consider whether, through the use of the realist, documentary, and positivist language of photoconceptualism, the artist unwittingly invests her own project with the power and authority of the archive.

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