Friday, July 20th @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Look Away Dixie Land
Featuring Artwork by McArthur Freeman, Titus Brooks Heagins, and Dave Alsobrooks
LabourLove Presents a show about the great southern racial divide. After electing our first minority President, racism seemed to be moving to the shadows of American consciousness, but two years later there is a palpable tension in the air once again. Whether, it’s the sneaky campaign to smear the name of a good woman like Shirley Sherrod in childish games of political posturing and propaganda, the tension over immigration reform, or the religious intolerance of extremists disguising themselves as a political movement, it seems the movement “reclaim America” is becoming a battle cry to return to pre-civil rights America for some.
So, we ask this one question – Have we learned from our past, or are we bound to repeat it?
Swing by the gallery for a look at our past, present, and future with three of the Triangle’s most talented artists.
McArthurʼs Artist Statement:
I create narrative paintings, drawings, and installations exploring race, double consciousness, and the construction of identity. The images are a synthesis of children’s book illustrations, fairy tales, and invented characters with historical narratives, images from popular culture, and social critique to create a wonderland like world that has gone disturbingly awry, but is seductively beautiful. The images are surreal, yet they investigate many of the myths and absurd truths that exist in our real world experiences. Dark subject matter that is sweetened by cartoon-like figures, lyrical compositions, vivid color, and bulbous sensual forms, unify a host of iconic references in these painted environments. Painting becomes a way of exploring and confronting the images that we consume in order to create a dialogue between image, perception, and constructed reality. Through these open-ended narratives, I explore the displacement involved in the expectations of the utopian American dream and the reality of racism, mind colonization, confused notions of beauty, and hybridity.
McArthur earned an MFA from Cornell University and is currently a professor at NC State.
Titus Heagins Brooks
Titus’s Artist Statement:
The pivotal question is whether we owe a debt to those ancestors who endured so we could have life. They lived lives of pain, indignities, unfulfilled desires and dreams, while surrounded by fear and the various forms of physical and spiritual death. The debt we owe is not reparations, nor national apologies — those issues are for the larger society to ponder. Ours is a debt more personal, central to our persistence and continued survival as a people in a nation still hostile to our presence. I create images today to interrogate the past. Visual realities that are dense in detail and laden with conflicting meaning so overwhelming that they hold the potential to extract our own truths from a filter of the past. We remain prisoners of our past; we may not acknowledge this fact, but we remain held by our denial as well as our acceptance of the truths of enslavement. African Americans come into the world with vulnerable potential, but are quickly damaged. Daily indignities confront us as we negotiate our path in a cloaked and clouded. As both an institution and experience, slavery is rarely a conscious reality for most African Americans. Both inter and intra racial relations bear the foundations created in antebellum America. The sole purpose of this exhibition is to present a series of visual relationships that existed both internally and externally in the plantation economies of the American South. The truth of these images lies in your past, present, and future experiences.
Titus is a documentary photographer and teacher of photography at the university level. He earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University and MFA from the University of Michigan.
Daveʼs Artist Statement:
Let me start by saying Iʼm not pretending to answer age-old questions about race relations with paintings of the Confederate flag. But you may have guessed as much. Iʼm simply recounting my experience of growing up in South Carolina. As with the strong graphic lines of the Confederate Flag, there were distinct lines in life. Geographic and cultural, acceptable and punishable. The Confederate Flag has been a point of contention in South Carolina for generations. The flag has traditionally been a prominent icon, seen on license plates, shirts, tattoos, bumper stickers and keychains among other items. The “Southern Cross” was even displayed atop the stateʼs capitol building from 1962 until 2000. Arguments were made to remove the flag and to uphold its public display in Columbia. I knew folks entrenched on either side of this discussion, so I was privy to both points of view. During this time the phrase, “Heritage, not hate,” became popular. It became the “politically correct” slogan accompanying the Confederate Flag. Paraphrased: the Confederate Flag doesnʼt have any hateful associations — its public display is only a tribute to history, heritage and a way of life.
Heritage, not hate? To whose heritage are we referring?
What if this powerful symbol were only about the sacrifices and tribulations of people fighting to maintain their way of life? Or what if the flag only encompassed simple family traditions being passed from generation to generation, with none of the mistakes made along the way? What if the flag were reclaimed and used as a defiant symbol of perseverance and cultural vibrancy? Or what if in the flag, we were only witness to its worst associations throughout history?
More questions, I admit.
Dave is the Durham Art Guild’s artist in residence at GB for 2010, the co-founder of The Paragraph Project, and an organizing member of BullWorks.
Jason Salemme will be back with Three of our all time favorite homebrew’s!
IPA, Pineapple Hefeweizen, and ESB
On the menu for food: Our favorite food truck guys will be in the main parking lot!