All images ©2018 Gretchen LeMaistre

Ma'am ANNA's Realm is a new work in progress that began with my April 2017 Art Residency at Kingsley Plantation and Timucuan Preserve in coastal Northeast Florida. The title is a reference to Anna Madginine Kingsley’s living quarters and the environments surrounding them on Fort George Island. The building that she inhabited for approximately twenty-five years was called “Ma'am's Anna's House” by those who also lived at the plantation during the early 19th century. Ma'am Anna's Realm is a rumination on the layers of time and human settlement marked by the present day National Park. Kingsley plantation was established by Zephaniah Kingsley, a prosperous Atlantic slave trader. In 1806, while conducting his trade in Cuba, Kingsley purchased and “married” a thirteen year old Senegalese 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  property owner, managing the plantation and its community of enslaved laborers. Enslaved men and women from many different regions of Africa lived and died at the plantation. They built their dwellings 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 and reveal the complexities submerged in the history of the place leading to its present day National Park incarnation.