Tiffany Smith: Redefining Incarceration Through the Arts

MFA Photography, Video and Related Media alum, Tiffany Smith is utilizing art to explore notions of displacement and identity through collaborative experience. One of Smith's latest projects takes place at Recess Assembly, an artist-led program designed as an alternative to incarceration for teens and young adults who are caught up in the justice system.

In a recent interview published through SVA's ContinuED newsletter, Smith says:

"I worked with the youth more directly and over a longer period of time than I have in the past. I was able to get to know them more personally and develop closer bonds...The impact for a young person seeing someone who looks like them, who understands the circumstances they've come from, and exemplifies how to successfully sustain a career as an artist is immeasurable and increasingly necessary."

 Installation view of Tiffany Smith’s “A Moment in the Sun”

Installation view of Tiffany Smith’s “A Moment in the Sun”

Tiffany Smith is an interdisciplinary artist from the Caribbean diaspora who works with photography, video, installation, and design to create photographic portraits, site responsive installations, user engaged experiences, and assemblages focused on identity, representation, cultural ambiguity, and displacement. Using plant matter, design and home decor elements, pattern and costuming as cultural signifiers, visual references from an array of multi-cultural influences, derived from her upbringing between Miami, Florida, Nassau, Bahamas, and Jamaica inform images and installations that examine their subject’s individual narratives. Smith’s constructed temporary habitats serve to articulate cultural subjectivities that oscillate between the roles of visitor and native, mirroring the ambiguous cultural space that her subjects occupy. Smith’s practice centers on what forms and defines communities of people color, in particular; how they are identified and represented, and how they endure.

To view the full interview with Smith, visit ContinED online.

 Portrait of Recess Assembly team during public family photo day (credit: Tiffany Smith)

Portrait of Recess Assembly team during public family photo day (credit: Tiffany Smith)