About the Photographer

Pernell, Alayna

American, b. 1996

Alayna Pernell created the series "Our Mothers’ Gardens" after months of researching images of Black women in private and institutional photographic collections. Pernell excavates, rephotographs, recaptions, and recontextualizes the works she finds, placing her hands over the images or holding them close to her body. Carefully cradling the framed photograph in her arms as if to guard it, Pernell extends a gesture of care to the people photographed, who otherwise have no control over how their images circulate in the world. Yet, Pernell endeavors to do more than offer protection; in meeting our gaze, she asks us to consider our own responsibilities in the acts of photographing and collecting.

Alayna Pernell completed her bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama with a degree in Photography and a minor African American Studies (2019) and her master’s degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2021. She is currently an Associate Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She was the winner of the 2021 MoCP Snider Prize.