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Oral History: HORTENSE WILLIAMS POWELL
Artist: Sean Sena 
Title: Newspaper, 2015, glass, copper wire, newspaper, twine, 1”x12”x 13”

Oral History: HORTENSE WILLIAMS POWELL
Artist: Sean Sena
Title: Newspaper, 2015, glass, copper wire, newspaper, twine, 1”x12”x 13”

The daily newspaper has come to embody a dying medium. It is printed, bailed, shipped, sold, bought, read, and thrown away. Despite its fragility it is enduring and often finds new life: Wrapping precious family dish wear for a long journey North, cleaning windows, bailing to recycle it at the dump for a dime. I was inspired by Hortense Williams Powell’s happy childhood memories of collecting Saturday newspapers with her friends to redeem “to go to the movies…and maybe get a hot dog, some candy, or soda.” Mrs. Powell was born in Newark but her parents were migrants from the South: “I never lived any place else other than Newark.” I created a personalized newspaper to represent the story of Mrs. Powell and the expectations and dreams for the families of migrants to Newark. The glass pages for this book parallel the fragility of glass, newspaper and those dreams.

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