Fannie Basmak Black

I’ve been going through the archival documents and photos of our family and trying to find out all I can about the Russian origins of my family.

This is a collage portrait of Fannie Simonowsky; who lived to be 103. Most of the documents I’m referring to in this project come from her archives. She saved everything, and labelled almost everything, which has been a huge help in piecing together family history. She was the first member of my family to attend college. She was a teacher in Harlem from the 1930s- 1960s.

This piece is part of a collection of pieces called “World Of My Mothers.” I began by making linocuts collage portraits of family members, and Fox scribbled around the people, and both of our lines were used to create collage portraits of my family members. Each portrait also contains photocopies of original family documents. In this portrait, there are copies of some of the Yiddish letters in my family collection, as well as a translation of one of the letters.