LaToya Ruby Frazier
Et des terrils, un arbre s'élèvera / And from the Coaltips a Tree Will Rise
Born into a working-class family in 1982, LaToya Ruby Frazier grew up in Braddock, PA, a borough in the American Rust Belt ravaged by the steel industry crisis that hit the United States during the Reagan administration. As she condemns its cynical abandonment by the public authorities, she is also critical of the opportunistic gentrification of its deserted districts. In this former bastion of the steel industry, now riven with unemployment, pollution and insalubrity, the artist was raised in her Afro-American family, whose story she told in The Notion of Family, a series of photographs which reinvents the social documentary by criticizing reality ‘from the inside’.
In 2016, her residency at Grand-Hornu offered her the opportunity to pursue her work on post-industrial society in Belgium, turning her camera to the Borinage, a mining region whose intense activity in the 19 th century was diminished by a series of crises that ultimately led to the closure of the last mine in 1976. Testimonials gathered by LaToya Ruby Frazier from the former miners and their families have resulted in Et des terrils un arbre s’élèvera (And From the Coaltips a Tree Will Rise), an extensive collection of collaborative photographs whose successive statements are recounted through portraits, landscapes and still lifes.