Hardened with Toil
In “Steeltown USA,” authors Sherry Lee Linkon and John Russo say, “Landscape is a ‘storehouse’ for memory.
For people who have lived in a place for a long time, the landscape carries individual and communal memories.
When landscapes change, those memories are displaced—not fully erased, but also not fully present as they once were.”
Located in northeast Ohio there exists a cultural landscape constructed by steel and abruptly abandoned.
What remains is a community of memory that is fading with each passing year. A state of constant decay is
apparent in the empty lots and crumbling infrastructure across my hometown in the geographic epicenter of the rust belt.
Every year since I moved away, I go back to Warren, Ohio to visit my family. With each visit, less and less
of the landscape I remember remains. In this sentimental body of work I reflect on memories of my childhood
and express concern for the future of those who remain there unwilling, or unable to pull up their roots.
In what is now an example of deindustrialization, people like my family remain, hardened with toil
and holding onto their community of memory.