In Believe Me, Erin M. Riley explores unacknowledged stories of her family history and the memories retained within objects. Riley’s great-grandmother Terena Holmes, from Mechanicville, New York, was murdered in 1944, but Riley only learned about the tragedy recently. By investigating Holmes’s story and foregrounding a related news clipping in a large-scale tapestry, she forces herself, her family, and others to confront it—choosing recognition and discussion over silence and shame. Through weaving, she connects historical words and events to contemporary objects—past to present—and explores the ways intergenerational trauma has silently shaped her familial and personal identity.
—Rebecca McNamara, Associate Curator
From the exhibition: Where Words Falter: Art and Empathy (July 9 – December 18, 2022)