Tori Purcell

Tori Purcell is a conceptual artist who works primarily in photography, video and installation. Much of Purcell’s artwork draws social and cultural comparisons between the American South and Cuba, echoing her own roots having grown up in rural Virginia and the roots of her husband, a recent immigrant from Havana. Purcell has shown widely in the U.S. and abroad including exhibitions at the Ogden Museum of Art in New Orleans, Page Bond Gallery in Richmond, and NARS Foundation in Brooklyn. Purcell is currently based in Brooklyn, New York. She is an Associate Professor and the Assistant Chair of the Photography Department at Pratt Institute.

la boveda

In Loving Memory

Oshun y Tajulian

who came before

Who came before is a series of photographs exploring the ways in which people, both individually and collectively, remember their ancestors. Two specific cultures are investigated, the American South and African descendants in Cuba. The photographs take a close look at the artist’s personal familial roots, having grown up in rural Virginia and having married in to a Cuban family.

Whether it’s Louisa, Virginia or Habana, Cuba, stories told and retold through the years create the lore around a specific ancestor. Both heirlooms passed down through generations and figurines recently purchased or repurposed act as totems representing those the current generation has never met. Driven by faith, fear, love, and cultural custom the rituals are followed and preserved. The objects themselves, their arrangement, and setting reveal the values and histories of two distinct places. While the places and cultures are different in many ways, at their core a genuine sense of reverence for those who came before shines through.

bird houses


“He loved his sunflowers.”

front porch

family Bible

and Sons





down in the cornfields


La Virgen

Grandfather clock

To view more of Tori Purcell’s work please visit her website.