Spellerberg Projects

Theresa Newsome, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you

Exhibition • November 11–December 2, 2023

Gallery hours
Saturday, November 11, 11am-3pm
Saturday, November 18, 11am-3pm
Saturday, November 25, 11am-3pm
Friday, December 1, 6–9pm – Artist’s Reception
Saturday, December 2, 11am-3pm – Last Look

Artist’s Statement

“With veins rolling roughly over quick hands, they have many clean words to say.

My grandmothers were strong. Why am I not as they?”

– Margaret Walker “Lineage”, 1942

Exploring significant instances of black and African American history, culture, and experiences within the United States, Theresa Newsome examines how these events and historical narratives have had long-lasting effects on her own culture and identity, both from a personal and universal perspective. Throughout history, black women and their bodies have been experimented upon, stereotyped, judged, and discriminated against. Her photographic works, What my Mother Told Me, What my Grandmother Refused to Say, Sims, Objects, and her most recent series Peace I Leave with You, My Peace I Give You and Teaching Myself Manners investigates her own journey through womanhood; referencing instances from childhood, historical perspectives of femininity, and concepts of home. Newsome’s work incorporates traditional and interdisciplinary artistic practices including textile, historical photographic processes, solvent transfers, and bookmaking.

This photographic project is a documentation of my grandmother, Doris Arnita’s homecoming trip which took place in the summer of 2022. Throughout that summer we were able to visit her former stomping grounds, reconnecting with her friends, former church members, her last living sister, and finding her mother’s grave.  This was a place where my grandmother grew up, my mother spent her formative years, and where I as a child would spend every summer while visiting my grandparents. Colonial Heights and Petersburg, Virginia are both deeply historical locations, steeped with memory both positive and negative. It was a unique experience being able to revisit these locations with my grandmother after over 15 years away, seeing how the town’s landscapes have changed. Coming back to my grandparent’s house where I had once spent so many summers and holidays, now painted and fenced in with a new family. Spending hours with my aunt and grandmother trying to find my great grandmother’s grave in a sea of unkept, unmarked headstones so she could finally lay her flowers. Witnessing my grandmother revert back to girlhood after holding her sister’s hand.

Each image throughout this series is intended to be viewed as a homage to these moments, bringing recollection to the memories that I and the matriarchal members of my family have shared over several generations within this small community.

About the Artist

Theresa Newsome is a fine art photographer who explores the intricate yet delicate relationship between identity, femininity, and race within her creative practice. Drawing inspiration from her own personal experiences and observations, Newsome creates images utilizing a variety of photographic techniques including digital, historical, and alternative image-making. Through her work, she is interested in shedding light onto the nuances of the black female experience, referencing historical events, familial oral narratives, and contemporary experiences.

Theresa graduated from Texas Woman’s University where she received her MFA in Photography and Art History in 2019. She graduated from the University of the Incarnate Word with a BFA in Studio Art and minor in Psychology, with a concentration in drawing in 2015. She currently resides in San Antonio, TX as an instructor and artist.