Chelsea Romeo Allen

Class of 2022


After school my sister and I would go to the daycare center where my mother worked and help her close up at night. My task was to gather and sanitize all the toys which littered the playroom. I would fill three buckets. One, steaming hot with water and soap, the next lukewarm with bleach, and ice cold to rinse. After submerging them in each bucket, I laid them out on clean towels. Some people play and some clean up, I learned. I work to counter narratives that alienate working class and low-income people from their cultural contributions. Union cards, insulation panels, drop cloths, industrial cleaning supplies, food tickets, time cards, chit-sheets, generic food labels, and copper scraps are imbued with notions of success and failure, leisure and labor, access and desire. I use installation, photography, video, and performance to affectionately solidify their meaning.