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Detail. Pittsylvania County, Courthouse

Memorialized Confederacy

Artist: Michael Mergen

Project: Confederate Heroes, Confederate Dead

Description: At a moment when national dialogue about the Confederate Flag is prevalent, Michael Mergen’s piece Confederate Heroes, Confederate Dead considers how the South—and particularly Virginia, where he resides—memorializes the Confederacy. Mergen is especially interested in statues of unnamed Confederate soldiers. “I’d seen these statues seemingly everywhere,” he says, “and began to think about the idea of portraits, contemporary portraits, of these unnamed Confederate soldiers who still gaze across county courthouses, town squares, and cemeteries.” 

The piece itself is a grid of these portraits; each other image represents a detail of the whole.

Eyes on the South is curated by Jeff Rich. The weekly series features selections of current work from Southern artists, or artists whose photography concerns the South. To submit your work to the series, email Jeff at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Michael Mergen

Michael Mergen received an MFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2011. His work has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Mother Jones, and Once magazines. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, and his work is held in several public and private collections, including the University of Maine Museum of Art, the Center for Photography at Woodstock, the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts, Urban Outfitters, Inc., and Center for Emerging Visual Artists. He teaches photography at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, where he lives with his wife and daughter.