In this painting of a bright southern landscape, the rich lush plant life is symbolic of both joy and agrarian labor. As a foil, the cement canvas represents both the security and the difficult demands of urban life. This work is part of a series of fresco-style paintings made on cement, where that material is suggestive of an urban landscape and the infrastructure of the industrial North. Each piece comments on the contradictory freedoms awaiting Southern Black migrants fleeing to Northern cities from Jim Crow policies in the South. These images ultimately suggest safety and security while also suggesting a history of land stewardship.
Jarrett Key's paintings and sculptures explore the nuances of the contemporary Black experience and demands for equality. Their work draws from their own experience of moving to NYC from rural Alabama and incorporates realities of hyper-surveillance and dispossession. Key examines the difficult lives awaiting Southern Black migrants fleeing Jim Crow policies and the history of Black freedom in America.