The unvoiced community of Barbecue men and women in the Florida town of Goulds is starving for the opportunity to bring civic engagement to this optimistic town. These Barbecue men and women have created a culture within Goulds for over 5 decades though the religious business method of firing up their grills every weekend on undeclared positions of street corners surrounding Goulds. As a community member and a multidisciplinary artist, it is my social responsibility to explore the strengths and weaknesses within my community and share them with others in order to create an open communication platform for sustainable solutions. I will create this platform by establishing a photo series and hosting an exhibit and BBQ cookout that will showcase in-depth behind the scenes footage of these entrepreneurs by bringing attention to the compositional photo structure of shapes, color, balance, and contrast that were found in this community’s elements. This compositional photo structure compares the light and dark elements that function as a collective to bring the positive space and the negative space of the photo together.
The process for organizing this exhibit began by exploring the entire community of Goulds by walking every carefully placed back street, stumbling across hidden waterfront parks, meeting new and old generations of the community, feeling the hopeful energy from dilapidated business buildings, and researching the history of Goulds. While in this course of understanding what makes the community tick, my assistant and I began to capture visual and sound components of this magical town. Continuing to develop this series I did on-site photos on the BBQ cookout corners, where upon introduction I was greeted with a complementary rib-sandwich and what taste like pure cane iced tea. Their southern hospitality allowed me to communicate with these entrepreneurs on a personal level. Sound recording of our discussions about their passion for cooking, social issues, and the evolution of Goulds all while taking photos with my professional Nikon Camera that soon became unnoticeable to us.
Shaping the photos and sound recordings to create an exhibit that will allow the public to get a real taste of Goulds. The exhibit will be outdoors in the backyard of Goulds at the South Miami Dade Culture Arts Center. This outdoors venue will allow the guest to embody what it feels like to be a part of a community that is so rich in culture and aspirations. As guest view the photos they will be able to eat a savory southern BBQ meal that will be provided by the BBQ men and women of Goulds that will be cooking on-site, accompanied by live music that reflects the sounds of the community.
The exhibit will uncover this hidden gem of a community and encourage a higher volume of recognition and income for these entrepreneur BBQ men and women in this low income area.