SOIL Art Exhibit Shines a Light on Black Farmers of the Delta


BY: Yasmine Malone | June 10, 2024

Clarksdale, Mississippi – On June 6, 2024, Rootswell hosted the ‘SOIL’ photo art exhibit at the Traveler’s Hotel. The exhibit featured a series of photographs taken by Justin Hardiman, the resident creative for this event. Hardiman spent months in the Delta photographing farmers, families, and other pillars of the Delta community.

The exhibit is a central event in a larger project designed to inspire a healthier culture of food and nutrition in the Mississippi Delta. It displays a deep admiration for the contributions of Black farmers in the Delta. Hardiman’s artwork remains on display at the Traveler’s Hotel.

This project was made possible through collaboration with Rootswell, Sipp Talk, Coahoma Collective, and the community at large.

Jasmine Williams, executive director of Sipp Talk and media consultant for this project, shared her insights about working in the Delta. When asked what stood out to her, she responded, “First of all, the food culture in the Delta is so beautiful to me. Of course, I have been here before, but this project allowed me to get a closer experience than ever before. The experience was spiritual in a way that I did not expect it to be. I found myself getting emotional just feeling the energy of the land, hearing farmers share their experiences with working on Delta soil. What stood out the most to me was how close people are to the land here. You could just drive down the street and see someone with a row of corn by their house. I think it’s so beautiful because a lot of people are trying to get back to that. That’s just one of the many gems of the area that stood out to me. The relationships people have with the land and agriculture are very intimate.”

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