Sidewalk musicians and flurries of activity guided Durham’s March Third Friday Art Walk, as artists and art-lovers alike moved around town in search of exciting exhibits and new talent. Here’s a recap of what you may have missed in the Bull City:
Opening for #BlackOnBlackATC
In partnership with VAE Raleigh, ArtsNow’s “Black On Black” exhibit hit the road, making a stop at Durham’s American Tobacco Campus. Inside the lobby of the Reed building on Blackwell Street, works by the NC-based artists of color were on display, covering themes of cultural identity, family and more.
Rapper (J) Rowdy of the DURM Cypher stopped by to freestyle about the works, and several of the featured artists came to talk with visitors about the project and their art.
— ArtsNowNC (@ArtsNowNC) March 21, 2017
“MEZCLA” at The Carrack
Bachata beats and salsa songs spilled out onto the street in front of The Carrack, where the reception for its newest exhibit, “MEZCLA,” was in full force. The exhibit features artwork submitted by artists who identify as Latinx or Hispanic, who were asked to share their cultural narrative in their piece.
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Curator Claudia Corletto said she was thrilled with the turnout. A mix of conversations held in English and Spanish floated throughout the gallery, showcasing colorful works of photography, painting, sculpture, video and more. The works dealt with themes ranging from immigration and cultural appropriation to a celebration of the artists’ culture and Hispanic/Latinx roots.
Miriam Ximil created a mixed media piece for the show called “The Trophy Room.” In the middle of the composition is a pale man with crazed eyes sitting in a red room. He is admiring several human heads hung on the wall like “trophies” from a hunt. The heads represent several minority cultures in the US — Latino, African-American, Native American, Muslim and more. Also hanging on the wall are handcuffs and slave shackles.
“This entity likes to collect cultures,” Ximil said. “And he won’t stop until he collects all of them. He gets some sort of power trip from collecting them. He enslaves cultures, taking them as his own.”
Ximil, who identifies as Mexican, said it’s a commentary on several issues happening in America today that affect her culture and many others.
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“MEZCLA” will show at The Carrack until March 26, when it will move to a space in Raleigh.
“Water Is…” at Pleiades Gallery
Pleiades Gallery kicked off its “Water Is…” exhibit with a nod to Durham’s Creek Week. Representatives from Keep Durham Beautiful stopped by to educate visitors about their efforts to clean up the city’s waterways, as well as share upcoming Creek Week programming, such as river clean-ups and educational sessions. Pleiades artist and co-owner Kim Wheaton said it’s important to the gallery to get involved with the community and touch on issues affecting Durham’s residents.
“We wanted to do a show about water because water is a fundamental resource,” she said. “We learned that Creek Week was happening at the same time, so we thought it would be a great synergy.”
The artists’ interpretation of the theme was widespread, though Wheaton was surprised to find a few commonalities across the works. Spigots made a frequent appearance in the submitted pieces, as did themes of the ocean and rivers in North Carolina.
In the gallery’s storefront was an installation by Lee Moore Crawford and co-owner Renee Leverty called “Water is Sacred.” Carved pieces of metal hanging from the ceiling represented reflections of the water, with a screen behind them, which is a meditation on Durham’s watersheds. Finally, a bottle of water sits on a pedestal, inspired by Japanese scientist and artist Masaru Emoto’s belief that water could react to positive thoughts and prayers, and that prayer and visualization could clean polluted water.
“If you can project your positive intentions or good wishes for the water, we’re going to return it back into Ellerbe Creek to heal Ellerbe Creek,” Crawford said.
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Creek Week takes place this week, ending on Saturday, and “Water Is…” will be on display until May 7.
Durham Arts Council offers “Peace of Mind”
Durham Arts Council hosted fiber artist Christine Hager-Braun in its Allenton Gallery for her show, “Peace of Mind.” The collection of art quilts began as a meditative way to cope with the loss of a friend in an accident. Serene scenes like sunsets and the moon’s reflection on water were major themes in the exhibit.
“Although this body of work was created as a response to a very painful experience, I purposefully focus on hope, quietness and solitude,” she said in her artist statement.
Hager-Braun creates each art quilt by sewing small pieces of fabric together on a domestic sewing machine, then she adds threaded stitches for contour and depth. The fabrics she uses include hand-dyed and printed cotton, batik, embroidery floss and hand-dyed silk.
“Peace of Mind” is on display until May 12.
Next month’s Third Friday Art Walk will be on April 21.