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The New Hearth

In free Black communities, the hearth was seen as a space of individual refuge, a communal space, a sacred space, as well as a portal that was susceptible to communication with their ancestors. This has been inferred through several spiritual concealments and inscribed cosmograms upon hearthstones. The cosmogram is based upon the different stages of individual life such as new beginnings, youth, and eldership as well as the collective ideology between the living and the ancestors. Culinary historian Jessica B. Harris eloquently expresses how food can be a source of memory that can be used for healing and caters to nostalgia and connection between the present and our ancestors.

The new hearth hopes to expand upon a fluid understanding of space and time inter-generationally through the power of food. It hopes to provide a space for learning and gathering, a space to reflect and reconnect, and a space to nourish and rest. I envision the youth that interact with this space to feel that the act of cooking is not just a chore but an act of reconnecting with yourself, and who you received the recipe from, to create a new collective memory through the ritual of making, dining, and sharing.