Makeup, dress, lighting; Nothing is spared when it comes to Jasmine Mallory uncovering and recreating the photos of Historical Black figures. Noticing a gap in the narrative, Mallory seeks to spread Black history year-round by sharing under-told stories of Black legends and icons to break the bubble of sharing the same stories when there are so many “greats”. Born in High Point, NC, Mallory started learning about local Black heroes, giving birth to an interest in documenting their stories starting in 2017. She describes the process as “a journey of knowledge of self. A desire to learn about myself and my history in a spiritual sense and historical sense”.
Mallory tells these stories through recreated photos featured in a yearly calendar. Her first recreated photo was that of Lorraine Hansberry, the first Black female author to have a play performed on Broadway. From there, Mallory created her first calendar edition in 2019, recreating each photo herself with the assistance of a photographer.
Since her first footage, Mallory has brought in community members and friends to help her capture the essence of these historical figures. Never seeking to fully replicate the photo, Mallory draws out the subtle differences that separate the icon and the actor to highlight each and draw connections between the present and past. Each calendar features various Black figures with different levels of recognition, and the calendars always highlight a “Living Legend”, a local hero. Mallory’s hope is that through the photos featured on the calendar, people are inspired to learn more. “It shouldn’t always be this ‘Oh, I never knew about them’ moment”, says Mallory.
Along with the recreated photography, Mallory writes articles on the Recreate Website for each individual, highlighting their unique story. Spreading knowledge of Black historical figures, Mallory is changing narratives and celebrating Black history.
As an Artist Support Grantee, Mallory received funding to support the 2024 edition of the Recreate Calendar. With a new camera and other necessary technology for her work, Mallory is able to move forward with new excitement. “When an artist doesn’t have what they need to create, it’s a struggle”, says Mallory. The Arts Council of Greater Greensboro is proud to directly support the work of Mallory and others as they forge new creative paths, bringing communities together.
To learn more about Jasmine Mallory’s Recreate Project, you can go to the website at recreate.ink and join the newsletter to hear more stories of Black history legends.
The ACGG’s Artist Support Grant program is supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.