In the UPROOT exhibition, Donelric Owens’ Street Photography documents the after-effects of the pandemic and the dis-investment of the artist’s neighborhood of Miami Gardens and Little Haiti, Florida. Owens grew up in Miami Gardens and has watched how the neighborhoods have declined in the last few years due to gentrification efforts and the pandemic. The artist uses a 35mm Canon camera and investigates, plays, and pushes the boundaries of black and white photography techniques. This multi-layered work references the pandemic, gentrification, and neighborhood blight.
The photographs imply the presence of people with empty chairs, streets, stores, and tractors. The standstill Bobcat tractors indicate impending destruction that came to a standstill and contributed to neighborhood blight. Many small businesses shuttered up and were unable to re-open after the pandemic. Lack of neighborhood investment has created an atmosphere of neglect and decline that encourages longtime residents to relocate. Thus, leaving behind vulnerable individuals with lack of resources and ultimately degrading the neighborhoods’ cultural identity.