Several faceless figures stand on the lawn of the Governor Henry Lippitt House and, like the metaphorically faceless domestic servants they represent, they cast long shadows over the grounds. The East Side is surrounded by a venerated past, but when buildings and streets are named for governors and captains of industry it becomes all too easy to forget or, even worse, to ignore the role of domestic servants in our community’s history.
Stories Untold, on display now on the lawn of the Lippitt House Museum aims to correct that omission. Aaron Pexa, a recent graduate of RISD, conceived the installation as “a counterpoint to the Lippitt House Museum,” adding that “the figures illuminate the untold stories of domestic servants who operated behind the scenes and are often overlooked by history. Adding this narrative to the home’s tale heightens the awareness of how we look at the house and experience house museums.”
Unlike the grainy sepia tones and drab period attire seen in archival photographs of the time, these life-sized silhouettes are brought back to life with vibrant colors and polished, reflective metal. They may not have been the ones amassing large fortunes, but they kept those who history deemed worthy of being remembered by name washed and fed. Stories Untold will be on display now through October 31.