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The Act of Everyday Resistance

How do we honor our ancestors and preserve history through homemaking practices?

Iayana Elie


This project explores the notion of home, specifically Black American homes and the women who nurture them into existence. In American society women like Martha Stewart are heralded as culinary masterminds, and Black women are mammyfied into caricatures like Aunt Jemima. How can we recontextualize history, honor our ancestors, restore value to this craft and create legacy at the same time?


I worked to understand this broad notion of home and how other Black people value and experience the comforts of home. It became clear that home means everything to us: it’s the site of humanization, and food is the thread keeping it all together. In a world set against you, home is the only safe space you have. If this is true then, why are these rituals and practices being left behind? Who are the women that pioneered this field? How do we as young people preserve our culture? Through my prototype based research I explored dynamic ways to recontextualize history and make this work valuable and intriguing for young Black people.


I discovered that matriarchs are the heartbeat of the home and the engineers of homemaking as a ritual and as a practice. Young Black women are wanting to use food and fellowship as a safe space and opportunity for growth and healing. Black people are interested in recontextualizing our history, preserving our past, and continuing to create legacy. My intervention Dish is a way to gather these ideas of community, history, legacy, preservation, and home in one place. Dish is a network, a community, a site for inspiration, an archive, and a dynamic in-person experience. It explores the infinite depth of black culture and lifestyle

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