All images ©2017 Gretchen LeMaistre

The Story of Heaven is a new work in progress that culls vision from histories that can only be speculated. The work stems from my April 2017 residency at Kingsley Plantation/Timucuan Preserve in coastal Northeast Florida. Kingsley plantation was established by Zephaniah Kingsley, a prosperous Atlantic slave trader in the late 18th, early 19th century. Kingsley purchased and “married” a thirteen year old African girl named Anna Madgigine. Within a year of her arrival in Florida, Anna bore the first of their four children. Zephaniah emancipated Anna four years later and she became an official slaveowner, managing the plantation during his frequent extended absences. Slaves from many different regions of Africa lived and labored at the plantation. They built their cabins using the shell mound material of the Timucuan natives who had lived at the site over several millennia. With particular emphasis on Anna Madgigine, for whom no images or narratives exist, I hope to invoke the complexities submerged in the history of the place leading to its present day National Park incarnation.