Alyssa Anderson

these roots run deep, 2021
Single-channel Video

send me back to my country, 2021
Single-channel Video

is this really home?, 2021
Watercolor (12” x 9”)


I make art to help navigate and express my identity, both as an individual and as a member of socially defined groups. Examining my social context and my inner world—the personal versus public—through my work has led to the exploration of diverse subjects which aid in understanding myself, some of which include: human nature, horticulture, race, and colonialism. My art addresses my personal identity as well as the socially defined groups I am a part of. In making art, I seek to not only express my identity but to also create something others can relate to or learn from.

My process plays an essential role in my art-making and is the same with everything I make. I explore understanding my identity by working intuitively. I pose a question or idea, do research, and then allow my emotions and thoughts to take over. I do not think about the outcome, what I want it to look like, or any specific overall idea. Instead, I focus on the feeling or point I want to convey. Making art also serves as a cathartic way of navigating my identity. While some of my work is very direct, abstraction allows me to explore the same concepts in a meditative and introspective way. My process also allows me to overcome the feelings of imposter syndrome that stems from lack of confidence as an artist and an obsession with perfection and profundity. By embracing imperfection and spontaneity and making it a part of my process, I can release control and work freely and intuitively.

After moving back to my hometown in March of 2020, I began to explore and research the connection between my love for houseplants, the ocean, and my identity—specifically through the lens of Blackness. Through my video pieces these roots run deep and send me back to my country, I challenge the narrative surrounding Black bodies nature, water, and freedom by reclaiming and redefining the innate interconnectedness between these Black bodies, their experiences, and nature. These pieces connect my personal interests and a much broader ancestral history while emphasizing the importance of self-care and healing trauma. They offer a connection to ancient spiritual heritage, one that predates slavery in the US, which helps me affirm my racial identities in the new world. Through exploring my interests I am able to find the deeper relationship between my social context and private identity.