Before I entered into the Friendly Reading Room for Sing Our Rivers Red (SORR), I did not anticipate the earrings and the letters that were written in honor of the murdered and missing Indigenous women. The physicality and sheer number of each distinct earring created a notable presence for each woman who is no longer there, but there was a symbolic absence in the way that the earrings were collected and displayed.
Earrings are meant to be in pairs the way that these women have a right to safety and to their bodies, but all that is present in the earring exhibit is one of the two. This singularity carves out a place in our minds that although we see a whole object, the object cannot function without its other.
In class when we talked about earrings in Crooklyn, we spoke about the tension between regulation (ex: hot comb) and the adornment of the body. Similar to the way that earrings function in SORR, they are a way of showing cultural, social, or religious signification within a specific community. For Troy, her jade earrings are not only a birthday gift from her mother, but also a piece of her Bed-Stuy life.
The SORR exhibit in conversation with Crooklyn shows the magnitude of earrings through their portrayal of loss, presence, and community. Although the earrings in these two settings have two different objectives, they both have the same purpose in showing a cultural form of love and adoration.