Io Palmer 
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Knapsacks
Shown at the Baltimore Clayworks, Maryland,
2011

Materials: Fired clay with oxides and terra sigillata, painted wood shelf

Dimensions: 
A selection from 62 knapsacks with varying dimensions between 4” to 12” in height and width. Complete piece with knapsacks on shelves 96” x 108” x 12”

In her essay White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, Peggy McIntosh lists the 62 ways in which she sees her own inherent privilege as an educated white women. She describes the process of writing and defining this privilege as a knapsack needing to be unpacked in order to be recognized, acknowledged, and understood. McIntosh’s desire to reflect on privilege encouraged me, 22 years after this essay was written, to consider my own advantages and access. Through the process of constructing these knapsacks, this object became laden with divergent meaning; the access that academia provides while also being a symbol of the weighted history of minority woman within an academic setting.