"Four hundred years ago last month, the first ship bearing black slaves landed on the shores of what would become the United States. Between the lands of freedom and bondage were thousands of miles of ocean that became a bloody liminal site for newly enslaved Africans. The Middle Passage claimed millions of lives, with the bodies of men, women, and children thrown to the overfed sharks that trailed slavers’ vessels as they made their way to the Americas.
Photographer Ayana V. Jackson divides her time between Paris, Johannesburg, and New York—cities on the three continents that marked the triangular slave trade. The history of the black experience in each of her home regions saturates her images, and in new works for “Take Me to the Water,” at Chicago’s Mariane Ibrahim, she looks to the sea in between."