This season, The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center collaborates with New Orleans artist Jackie Sumell to unveil a Solitary Garden in honor of Stowe Prize 2020 winner Albert Woodfox and his memoir Solitary. This garden is a work of art, conceived by Sumell, as a solitary confinement cell (6 x 9’)—the same shape and size as the cell Woodfox was imprisoned in for 43 years.
Solitary Garden is built from the largest chattel slave crops of the 19th-century South— sugarcane, cotton, indigo, and tobacco mixed with lime from a historic Connecticut mine. The plants relate to Harriet Beecher Stowe herself—flowers from her historic garden or from her description of those growing outside Tom’s cabin in her famous anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
This artwork expresses confinement as well as hope, love, and imagination—all things that helped Albert Woodfox triumph over unimaginable conditions and harm.
Solitary Garden can be viewed in our gardens at 77 Forest Street in Hartford daily from dawn to dusk through October 15. Open to all.