LaToya Ruby Frazier’s artistic practice spans a range of media, including photography, video and performance. She documents personal and social histories, inviting the audience to witness the damage that social segregation, environmental trauma and economic abandonment have caused on neighbourhoods in the industrial heartland of the United States. In particular, she focusses on her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania where the collapse of the steel industry in the 1970s and 80s led to a steep decline in population, leaving the town abandoned and the remaining inhabitants impoverished.
Frazier subverts the power dynamics of the social documentary tradition by telling her own story, depicting herself and her family to explore the social and economic realities in her hometown. The ultimate goal of her work is to preserve the grey areas that have been omitted from history – to highlight how cities cannot be redeveloped without the destruction and loss of communities.