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About Hannah

Baltimore City

Hannah Brancato's picture
Hannah Brancato (she/her) is an artist and educator based in Baltimore. She is co-founder of FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, an art and organizing collective that creates creative interventions to disrupt rape culture. Founded in 2010 by and for survivors, FORCE is nationally known for producing large-scale public art campaigns, most notably, the Monument Quilt. Hannah was a 2015 OSI-Baltimore Community Fellow to launch FORCE’s Baltimore based survivor collective, Gather Together and as part of... more

Inheritance of White Silence

“[White people] are, in effect, still trapped in a history which they do not understand and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it.” - James Baldwin.

In this project, I am excavating the ways that “well-meaning” or progressive white people, even those who are committed to racial justice, are complicit in the system of white supremacy. In Inheritance of White Silence, I am embroidering a set of white linen napkins from my grandmother, with symptoms of internalized white superiority. In the next phase, I will document members of my family wearing these napkins as blindfolds and engage in conversations with them about ways that we unconsciously pass down and perpetuate white superiority, and what we can do to more effectively resist this insidious lineage. The results will be compiled into a book format.

  • Inheritance of White Silence

    This is a close up view of the first in a series of linen napkins I am embroidering, to represent the insidious ways that white people internalize white supremacy. In this project, I am excavating the ways that “well-meaning” or progressive white people, even those who are committed to racial justice, are complicit in the system of white supremacy. In Inheritance of White Silence, a set of white linen napkins from my grandmother are being embroidered with symptoms of internalized white superiority.
  • Inheritance of White Silence - Portrait #1

    The first in a series of portraits. In this project, I am excavating the ways that “well-meaning” or progressive white people, even those who are committed to racial justice, are complicit in the system of white supremacy. In Inheritance of White Silence, a set of white linen napkins from my grandmother are being embroidered with symptoms of internalized white superiority.

Monument to Resistance

This piece was commissioned by, and donated to, the Benjamin Banneker Museum. It honors Benjamin’s father, Robert Bannaky, and his resistance to and escape from slavery. In this intimate monument, embroidered words honor the variety of ways that resistance manifests, offering a chance for you as a viewer and me as an artist to reflect on the less obvious forms that it can take. Since Robert Bannaky did not write his own story, to choose these words, I relied on the writing and oral history of two other people who were enslaved in the US: Fredrick Douglass, and Oluale Kossola, also known as Cudjo Lewis.

Fredrick Douglass wrote about how imagining himself as a free man, and seeing enslavement as a temporary injustice that must be changed, was to resist bondage. “From my earliest recollection, I date the deep conviction that slavery would not always be able to hold me within its foul embrace.” He describes how this conviction created hope, the possibility of joy, and provided an explanation for the deep sorrow he often felt. He writes about how the gospel songs of enslaved people were an expression of these complex feelings: “Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains.”

Oluale Kossola’s oral history led me to the words “truth-telling” and “story-telling.” Kossola was the last living survivor of the trans-Atlantic slave trade from West Africa to the US. When Zora Neale Hurston interviewed him in 1927, he recalled detailed memories of the torture, violence and abuse he endured while enslaved. His ability to share this testimony decades later meant that he could tell the world about the injustice done to him. It also meant that he remembered his ancestors, his culture, and what it was like to be free, and that he passed this memory on to those around him, and now to those who can read his story.

  • Resistance Monument - front view

    This piece was commissioned by, and donated to, the Benjamin Banneker Museum. It honors Benjamin’s father, Robert Bannaky, and his resistance to and escape from slavery. In this intimate monument, embroidered words honor the variety of ways that resistance manifests, offering a chance for you as a viewer and me as an artist to reflect on the less obvious forms that it can take.
  • Resistance Monument - back view

    This piece was commissioned by, and donated to, the Benjamin Banneker Museum. It honors Benjamin’s father, Robert Bannaky, and his resistance to and escape from slavery. In this intimate monument, embroidered words honor the variety of ways that resistance manifests, offering a chance for you as a viewer and me as an artist to reflect on the less obvious forms that it can take.
  • Resistance Monument - detail

    This piece was commissioned by, and donated to, the Benjamin Banneker Museum. It honors Benjamin’s father, Robert Bannaky, and his resistance to and escape from slavery. In this intimate monument, embroidered words honor the variety of ways that resistance manifests, offering a chance for you as a viewer and me as an artist to reflect on the less obvious forms that it can take.

FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture

I co-founded FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture in 2010. By and for survivors, FORCE is an art and organizing collective. Nationally known for producing large-scale public art, FORCE believes that a more difficult and honest conversation needs to happen in order to face the realities of sexual violence. FORCE is currently collectively led by Charnell Covert, E Cadoux, me, Shanti Flagg, and Mora Fernandez. For further information, visit FORCE’s website. Pictured here is our largest project to date, The Monument Quilt -- a collection of over 3,000 stories by survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence and our allies, painted and stitched onto red fabric. Our stories blanket highly public, outdoor places to create and demand space to heal, and resist a singular narrative about sexual violence. In June 2019, we organized the 50th and final display on the National Mall.

Members of the FORCE staff collective shaped the vision of the Monument Quilt, and it was guided by FORCE’s Leadership Team. The staff collective currently includes Charnell Covert, E Cadoux, Mora Fernández, Hannah Brancato, and Shanti Flagg. Former staff collective members include Saida Agostini, Robin Marquis and Rebecca Nagle. The Monument Quilt was co-founded by Hannah Brancato and Rebecca Nagle in 2013. The Leadership Team currently includes Amber Melvin, Alexis Flanagan, Greg Grey Cloud, Jacob Simpson, Jadelynn Stahl, JP Przewoznik, Dr. Kalima Young, Kate Bishop, Leigh Ann Sham, Liz Ensz, Lorena Kourousias, Norwood Johnson, Rachel Gilmer, and Winter Miller.

The Monument Quilt was launched in 2013, and over the past six years, FORCE collected nearly 3,000 squares of the quilt with messages of affirmation and stories from survivors. We’ve partnered with over 100 organizations across the US and in Mexico, to organize 50 Quilt displays in 33 different cities. Cities include, in order from most recent: Washington, DC; Baltimore, MD; Madison, NJ; Houston, TX; Athens, OH; Fort Belvoir, VA; Towson, MD; Mexico City, Mexico; San Francisco, CA; El Paso, TX; Ciudad Juárez, Mexico; Santa Barbara, CA; Valley Center, CA; Tempe, AZ; Tulsa, OK; Fort Hood, TX; Annapolis, MD; Fort Meade, MD; Washington, DC; Nashville, TN; Jacksonville, FL; Oklahoma City, OK; Middleton, CT; Queens, NY; Pittsburgh, PA; Durham, NC; Oshkosh, WI; Chicago, IL; White River, SD; Quapaw, OK; Des Moines, IA; Baton Rouge, LA; Birmingham, AL; Arden, NC.

  • The Monument Quilt

    The final display of the Monument Quilt on the National Mall, May 31-June 2, 2019. This was the 50th display and it featured over 3,000 stories from survivors.
  • The Monument Quilt on the National Mall

    May 31-June 2, 2019, was the 50th and final display of the Monument Quilt, on the National Mall in Washington, DC. This video tells part of the story from our weekend. Learn more: app.themonumentquilt.org
  • History of the Monument Quilt

    The Monument Quilt, a project of Baltimore based FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, is a collection of over 3,000 stories by survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence and our allies, written, painted, and stitched onto red fabric. Our stories literally blanket highly public, outdoor places to create and demand space to heal, and resist a singular narrative about sexual violence. The culminating display is coming up May 31 – June 2, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
  • Mourning and Rage

    On Feb 14, 2013, FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture floated 44 giant Styrofoam letters in the reflecting pool to spell, “I CAN’T FORGET WHAT HAPPENED BUT NO ONE ELSE REMEMBERS”. The poem, which I wrote as a survivor, highlights the isolating and silencing experience of rape in the United States. The poem was a call to create a permanent memorial to survivors of rape and abuse.
  • 13-MourningAndRage.jpg

    On Feb 14, 2013, FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture floated 44 giant Styrofoam letters in the reflecting pool to spell, “I CAN’T FORGET WHAT HAPPENED BUT NO ONE ELSE REMEMBERS”. The poem, which I wrote as a survivor, highlights the isolating and silencing experience of rape in the United States. The poem was a call to create a permanent memorial to survivors of rape and abuse.
  • Rape is Rape

    In 2012, FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture projected “RAPE is RAPE onto the US Capitol Building with stories of survivors during the 2012 national election. The stories fell outside of the definition of “forcible rape” and illuminate what is missing from the national conversation on the politics of rape: the experience of survivors. The demonstration was carried off in collaboration with Luminous Intervention.
  • Rape is Rape

    In 2012, FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture projected “RAPE is RAPE onto the US Capitol Building with stories of survivors during the 2012 national election. The stories fell outside of the definition of “forcible rape” and illuminate what is missing from the national conversation on the politics of rape: the experience of survivors. The demonstration was carried off in collaboration with Luminous Intervention. This slide states: “I don’t remember the details of what happened. I pick up clues from the seemingly random things in sex that paralyze me with fear.”
  • PINK loves CONSENT- About Page

    “PINK loves CONSENT” was a web-based prank that made consent go viral and sparked an internet revolution. FORCE pretended to be Victoria’s Secret promoting a new line of consent-themed, anti-rape panties. The action and internet aftermath got millions of people talking about consent, rape culture, and the sexual empowerment of women. This is the home page. The website was designed by Dan Staples, and the photography is by Philip Laubner. "PINK loves CONSENT is more than a style. It's a revolution.

Cut Pieces

For the exhibition Down Through the Needle's Eye, Hannah Brancato and Charlotte Keniston created a space for a clothing swap, fostering interaction and a consciousness about consumption. Stained or otherwise un-wearable garments were cut up and stitched together by the artists to create quilts in the gallery during workshop days throughout the exhibition. When people submitted garments for the quilt they wrote a few sentences about the garment's history- where did it come from? When did you wear it? How long did you have it? Pockets throughout the quilts hold transcriptions of these stories.

  • Cut Pieces

    For the exhibition Down Through the Needle's Eye, Hannah Brancato and Charlotte Keniston created a space for a clothing swap, fostering interaction and a consciousness about consumption. Stained or otherwise un-wearable garments were cut up and stitched together by the artists to create quilts in the gallery during workshop days throughout the exhibition. When people submitted garments for the quilt they wrote a few sentences about the garment's history- where did it come from? When did you wear it? How long did you have it?
  • Cut Pieces - sewing view

    During the performance, we stitched together the stories in the gallery space. For the exhibition Down Through the Needle's Eye, Hannah Brancato and Charlotte Keniston created a space for a clothing swap, fostering interaction and a consciousness about consumption. Stained or otherwise un-wearable garments were cut up and stitched together by the artists to create quilts in the gallery during workshop days throughout the exhibition. When people submitted garments for the quilt they wrote a few sentences about the garment's history- where did it come from? When did you wear it?
  • Cut Pieces - clothing swap

    At this station, visitors could give and take clothes to add to the project. For the exhibition Down Through the Needle's Eye, Hannah Brancato and Charlotte Keniston created a space for a clothing swap, fostering interaction and a consciousness about consumption. Stained or otherwise un-wearable garments were cut up and stitched together by the artists to create quilts in the gallery during workshop days throughout the exhibition. When people submitted garments for the quilt they wrote a few sentences about the garment's history- where did it come from? When did you wear it?
  • Cut Pieces - story view

    After donation clothes, visiting could write a story about the piece, to be included in the quilt. For the exhibition Down Through the Needle's Eye, Hannah Brancato and Charlotte Keniston created a space for a clothing swap, fostering interaction and a consciousness about consumption. Stained or otherwise un-wearable garments were cut up and stitched together by the artists to create quilts in the gallery during workshop days throughout the exhibition. When people submitted garments for the quilt they wrote a few sentences about the garment's history- where did it come from?
  • Cut Pieces - detail view

    This detail shows one story added to the quilts. For the exhibition Down Through the Needle's Eye, Hannah Brancato and Charlotte Keniston created a space for a clothing swap, fostering interaction and a consciousness about consumption. Stained or otherwise un-wearable garments were cut up and stitched together by the artists to create quilts in the gallery during workshop days throughout the exhibition. When people submitted garments for the quilt they wrote a few sentences about the garment's history- where did it come from? When did you wear it? How long did you have it?

What Gives People Power

“What Gives People Power” is an oral history project focused on people defining power and control, based on their personal experience. Through interviews with domestic violence survivors and perpetrators, as well as staff and volunteers from the House Of Ruth Maryland, the project documents connections between perceptions of power and the cycle of violence. The resulting stories give voice to the stigmatized issue of domestic violence, while bringing to light the diverse ways and means that people empower themselves.



In this installation of the audio interviews, I created a listening booth encrusted with stereotypes about what gives people power. When visitors stepped inside the booth, they listened to honest and real reflections of that same subject.



This project is a collaboration between Sharlene McNeil and Hannah Brancato, with contributions from Naomi M., Lakiesha F., and Anita R



Hear the interviews: https://whatgivespeoplepower.wordpress.com/house-of-ruth-interviews-2009-2010/

  • What Gives People Power - Listening Booth

    8' x 3' x 3' Toy guns, plastic diamonds, paper money, feathers, fake flowers, yarn, books, remote controls, fake hair, mirrors, electrical cords, oral histories, media recorder. Listening booth for interviews about power and control from the House Of Ruth Maryland. Visitors were invited to leave audio and written responses inside the booth. http://www.whatgivespeoplepower.wordpress.com
  • What Gives People Power - Responses

    Some of the responses left inside the booth when it was exhibited at MICA and the Enoch Pratt Central Library. “What Gives People Power” is an oral history project focused on people defining power and control, based on their personal experience. Through interviews with domestic violence survivors and perpetrators, as well as staff and volunteers from the House Of Ruth Maryland, the project documents connections between perceptions of power and the cycle of violence.
  • What Gives People Power - booth detail

    “What Gives People Power” is an oral history project focused on people defining power and control, based on their personal experience. Through interviews with domestic violence survivors and perpetrators, as well as staff and volunteers from the House Of Ruth Maryland, the project documents connections between perceptions of power and the cycle of violence.

Sex is a Weapon (American Dream)

This project was a collaboration with residents of the House Of Ruth Maryland, including Laura Jane Byrne, Angelica Dellagoti*, Tia Jordan, Ebony Peacock, Denise Wonson*, Jocelyne, Lasonia, Linnea, Kerisher, and Mikheasa.

*name changed to protect client's identity

Connect with Hannah

Hannah's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.