Terri Garland

Arts Council Silicon Valley Artist Fellowship

I am an artist who specializes in photographing the social fabric of the American South

I received my BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1987 and my MFA in 1990.  

As a graduate student, I began an examination of white supremacist culture that spanned over two decades, photographing individuals within the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, American Nazi Party and the Christian Identity Movement. During this project I began to realize while many of the pictures were solidly situated within the documentary tradition, my greater interest lay in revealing the fragile, often invisible, thread of humanity that connects us all, despite the fear of difference. In the process, I recognized that most regions have either embraced or been assigned their own distinct mythologies and that the South bares its contradictions perhaps better than most. I am drawn to dichotomy and projects that are multi-leveled. 

Since 2005, I have divided my time between Louisiana and Mississippi. I photographed obsessively along the Gulf Coast both during and following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; these pictures are rooted in my observation of a less overt but equally insidious brand of racism. The photographs contained in the project, The Good Books, are images of Bibles I discovered in churches destroyed by the flooding. Relics of former communities of faith and fellowship, these books bound neighbor to neighbor in the course of thanksgiving and worship. The elements of water, earth and air irrevocably altered those books and the paradigm of social neglect obviated the congregations who valued them. For me, they are both beautiful in their decay and incendiary in their implication.

My Hatchfund project, Louisiana, Purchased, is an expansion of my still work of the same name - a visual study of the ways in which we depend upon and demand, continuous supplies of fossil fuels and the resultant damage and ongoing destruction to communities throughout Louisiana. 

My photographs are frequently exhibited, widely published and are included in the collections of The Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona, The Art Institute of Chicago, The di Rosa Preserve in Napa, California, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Saint Elizabeth College in Morristown, New Jersey, the Bibliotech Nationale, Paris, France and Special Collections at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

In addition to my photography projects, I am also writing a non-fiction, historical account of a Mississippi Delta native who grew up in the Mafia, was a close family friend with convicted murderer Byron de la Beckwith and later renounced his racist views and sought to bring attention to numerous, unreported civil rights murders in the Delta.

Sea turtles, French bulldogs and labrador retrievers are my favorite beasts. Most creative folks are also great cooks. I make delicious fruit deserts and the recipe for one of them is available at the ten dollar donation level. I'll even letterpress it for you!

Among my awards are a WESTAF/NEA Fellowship, Silicon Valley Arts Council Grant, a Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship, a current Blue Earth Alliance fellowship and a Gulf Coast Fund grant.