Nick Kline & Adrienne Wheeler with Endless Editions, Samantha Boardman and Rutgers University-Newark Book Arts Class

Provisions is an series of artist books inspired by recordings from the Krueger-Scott African-American Oral History Collection, consisting of over 200 audiocassette recordings of interviews with African-American residents of Newark, NJ who migrated to the city between 1910 and 1970 during the Great Migration. Seven of these interviews are subjects for the collaborative artworks collected here, which seek to keep the interviewees’ voices alive for a new generation through a contemporary context.

The title of the collection – Provisions – is inspired by descriptions of the boxes and bags used by individuals to carry food on their long journeys northward – a custom developed in response to “Jim Crow” laws that barred African-Americans from most public accommodations and restaurants.

The conceptual starting point for Provisions is the portrait series, Elizabeth (2015), by GlassBook Project Founder and Artist Nick Kline and Artist-in-Residence Adrienne Wheeler, whose mother migrated from the South during the Great Migration, and whose father was from a long-time Northern family. Similarly, each of the artist books on display—created by students of Kline’s Book Arts class at Rutgers University-Newark—is an abstract, conceptual portrait based on specific details drawn from the interviews. Other works include a limited-edition artist publication by Endless Editions and a sound montage by Samantha Boardman.

The exhibition attempts to reveal the unseen provisions that sustain people throughout their lives, such as their traditions, spirituality, community, and wisdom learned from others.

This project was produced in coordination with Rutgers University-Newark, The Newest Americans Project, and the Center for Migration and the Global City and Samantha Boardman. The Provisions Project has received support from The Office of the Chancellor, Rutgers University-Newark and The Dean’s Office, College of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University-Newark. The books were created at and with the support of GlassRoots, Newark, NJ.