During the first half of the 20th Century, racially restrictive covenants were written into real estate deeds to keep people of color from buying or occupying certain properties in cities all across the United States. Builders would advertise these covenants as a selling feature for properties. Covenant is a contractual word, referring to a formal, legal agreement. But the word isn’t simply a legal term. In many religions, a covenant talks about God’s commitment to humans, or the binding together of a community. I like to think of it like a blood-oath; a mutual promise to live a certain way and hold certain beliefs. When a covenant is applied to a real estate contract, it is a social pact for a desired way of life. Racially restrictive covenants were a blood-oath among white European American citizens to limit home-ownership based upon race. In the Covenant installation, I invite viewers to take a contract and ask what they will leave in return: not an object, but an idea, a commitment, or a social agreement.
Covenant is an installation of real estate contracts, photographs, furniture, and sculpture.