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What I Hear, I Keep: Stories from Oakland's Griots

An Art Installation by Walter Hood with Audio Design by Holly Alonso.

This magnificent visual and audio art installation based on the West African tradition of griots (pronounced gree-oh) - storytellers who hand down family and community history from one generation to the next - is premiering at the Peralta House Museum of History and Community in Fruitvale. Architect/artist Walter Hood will fill one high-ceilinged gallery in this Victorian farmhouse with the empty wire framework of a single iconic horse. Under Hood's direction, the frame will initially be covered with words and images from the 22 individuals who have worked with Hood, united by their African American identity and by being residents of Oakland, then by subsequent visitors, in thick layers of material until the horse is textured with palimpsests through which visitors/storytellers glimpse stories and parts of stories. Through the medium of sound, Holly Alonso, will weave in another layer of texture using the actual audio of the storytellers remembering their own experiences and recounting distances traveled. An expanding book will parallel the layering, containing all the stories on the horse, allowing access even when they become obscured or invisible, much like the invisible events in our pasts that affect the shape of the present.

Join us for the opening reception and hear the narratives of African American residents of Oakland, collected through StoryCorps, as they shine a light on the East Bay's past while exploring identity and connection here and now. Add your own stories to this interactive art piece!


Presented by Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park


Sat, 23 Feb at 2:30pm - at 5:30pm
Peralta House Museum of History and Community, 2465 34th Avenue
Chris Hambrick