On Tuesday, February 5th, Estizer Smith visited the Upper School during community time.
Estizer describes herself as a mother, wife, former anatomy and physiology teacher, and photographer. I describe her as a friend and one of the best storytellers I know.
With the death of her mother, Estizer turned to the camera and her deceased father’s box of “black and whites” – photographs taken during her parent’s time working for the Office of Equal Opportunity in Lowndes County, Alabama, in the late 1960s.
Her journey back to the South, decades later, in the pursuit of helping fill the void left in her heart, and life – due to their deaths – led her to the places she found in her father’s images, and so much more. Along the way, many people, places, and things grabbed her attention. Through what she saw, combined with the stories of the people she met in the process, Estizer not only helped to heal herself – but also, spoke on behalf of so many whose voices had been muted by systemic racism, abject poverty and murder.
In her own words, “So I take pictures” is only a fraction of what Estizer does. With her artist’s eyes she’s directed us to give the people, places and things she’s showcased with her art, and words, a voice that grabs our attention, and in so doing, – for so many – illuminates their lives which would have most certainly been otherwise, completely silenced.”
Thank you to Estizer for sharing your story and your powerful message with our students.
Estizer’s artwork is on display in Dyer Auditorium and will be on display in Melhado Dining Room through mid-March.
Learn more about Estizer’s story through this Channel 6 clip: