Mateo Ruiz Gonzalez Creates Photographs Inspired by the Long History of African American Families From North Carolina

Chilluns’ Croon dives into the Black Wide-Awake Archive to compile a body of work representative of both old slavery times and the new generations' constant fight in the American region of Wilson Country.

Based on the historical archive Black Wide-Awake (documents of genealogical and historical interest of Wilson County, North Carolina’s African-American past curated by Lisa Y. Henderson) Chilluns’ Croon investigates themes of slavery, absence, remembrance, spirituality, mortality, and morality of African American families from Wilson, NC.

Reflecting on old transcripts from the Federal Writers Project - told by African former slaves, the symbolic series is a compilation of photographs that resembled old spiritual beliefs and stories of love and loss from the time of slavery. A modern crumbling landscape where new generations from families of freed slaves keep fighting for equality and awareness.

Words and Pictures by Mateo Ruiz Gonzalez


Mateo Ruiz Gonzalez (b.1989) is a photographer from Bogota, Colombia, currently based in NYC. He is one of the current finalists for Aperture Portfolio Prize 2022 and one of the winners of the Urbanautica Institute Awards 2021. Ruiz Gonzalez was a grantee for NatGeo, Pulitzer Center in 2020, and The New York Foundation of the Arts in 2021. 


This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PhMuseum curators.

Sign up to our weekly newsletter

Stay in the loop