Richmond Voting Stories examines the often-overlooked yet essential civic activity of voting. For Richmond Voting Stories Sethi produced and assembled a collection of interviews held between local high school students and older members of the Richmond community about their recollections of the first time they voted.
This project stemmed from the observation that the elderly are often marginalized with a false notion that their contributions to larger dialogues within a community have long since past. Conversely youth contributions in a community are also minimized because of their perceived lack of experience and lack of understanding of the world around them. Richmond Voting Stories confronts these stereotypes by working simultaneously with high school students in their roles as interviewers, editors, and re-presenters, and with the elderly as individuals with invaluable and piercing insight into the shared history of a community.
While Richmond Voting Stories explicitly deals with residents of Richmond and the activity and memory of voting it also reveals the universal struggles of marginalization, disenfranchisement, and urban dilapidation. The aim of Richmond Voting Stories was not to collect stories of past voting experiences for the sake of nostalgia, but rather to use the past as a reference point for plotting a course for the future.
This project was initiated as part of the Neighborhood Public Art Project, and received support from the Richmond Art Center, the City of Richmond, the Richmond Arts and Culture Commission, and the San Francisco Foundation.