Postcards from Home

Toile, Postcards from Home, 2007

Postcards From Home

Photographs by Susan Harbage Page

To be Southern is to be irrevocably shaped by the rift of society along the line of
“race” that defines American modernity, consigning blacks and whites to different
physical and metaphorical spaces. Page’s photographs of contemporary versions of Ku Klux Klan hoods and robes in the series “Postcards from Home” (2007) defy social divisions. Like many others in this region, Page, who moved to North Carolina from Ohio as a child, has grown into being a Southerner, even as she retains some identification with the North and a deep familiarity with its own forms of racism. Although almost playfully ironic, an implicit violence shadows Page’s cryptic, if lush, photographs of Klan hoods sewn from contemporary fabrics. The disguise offered by such garments confers anonymity and a perverse sense of power upon the wearer.

In 2007, Page began to sew her own versions of Klan hoods and robes from colorful prints, rich velvets and corduroys, decorative toiles, and conventional blue oxfords. Modeled by friends and family, these costumes form the basis for visually seductive photographs that picture a brutal history, with effects in the present. Page’s photographs unsettle any sense one may have of moral superiority, for one can imagine oneself in the place of one of her models.

These works address the persistence of racism, which, protean in shape and guise,
remains socially and personally wounding as in the time of the Klan.8 Page stresses the
collective nature of Klan activities in communities where everyone knew each other,
even in disguise. By sewing the hoods and robes herself, Page roots public crimes in the
domestic spaces of women whose “virtue” male White Supremacists claimed to protect.
Their terrorism aimed to control the social mobility of blacks and the purported threats to
racial “purity” posed by miscegenation.

Toile, Postcards from Home, 2007

Wal-mart Bags, Postcards from Home, 2008

Blue Oxford (close-up, Postcards from Home, 2007

Red Carnation, Postcards from Home, 2007

Brown Corduroy, Postcards from Home, 2007

Camouflage, Postcards from Home, 2007
Blue Oxford, Postcards from Home, 2007

Blue Jeans, Postcards from Home, 2008

Gold Lame, Postcards from Home, 2009

Plaid, Postcards from Home, 2008

Seersucker, Postcards from Home, 2008

Silk with pearl teardrops, Postcards from Home, 2009

Pink Embroidered Veil, Postcards from Home, 2009

Pink Silk with Embroidered Flowers, Postcards from Home, 2007

Grey Suite and Princess Fabric, Postcards from Home, 2010

Pink Silk with Stripes /Flowers, Postcards from Home, 2007
Plaid, Postcards from Home, 2008
Medical Masks, Postcards from Home, 2010

Invisible Veil, Postcards from Home, 2010

Silk w Pearls/Sequins, Postcards from Home, 2010

Purple and Red Silk, Postcards from Home, 2010

Tie-Die, Postcards from Home, 2010
English Garden Toile, Postcards from Home, 2010

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