The photograph, James “Coco” Thompson, Durham, NC, is part of One God, One Faith, One Baptism, a series created by Heagins portraying different events and religious ceremonies at African American churches, including church services, tent revivals, baptisms, and funerals. In this work, Heagins shows mourners gathered around a canopy where James “Coco” Thompson will be buried. Heagins uses the contrast between black and white in the composition to symbolize death and life. The women lean forward toward the burial as they bear “the weight of his (James “Coco”’s) life and the weight of his memory.” As in other works by the artist, Heagins omits certain details in his composition. He does not show the coffin in the photograph, or the faces of the mourners. Instead, Heagins captures the spirit of the moment of burial through careful choices in perspective, contrast, and body language.
Tags: NC art, NC artist, North Carolina