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Maryland Art Place kicks off THIRTY tonight

March 27, 2013

For THIRTY: 30 Creative Minds Under 30, Maryland Art Place instigated a conversation between some of the area’s brightest young artists, filmmakers, curators, and performers. Each month, three practitioners will give public talks about their work, beginning tonight, Wed. March 27, at 6 P.M. with talks by Emily C-D, Mia Weiner, and Ashley Minner.

We caught up with Minner via email, where she explained her work and the subject of her talk tonight.

I think I’m going to focus on one or two recent projects which were done in collaboration with the Lumbee community of Southeast Baltimore. The first is a multimedia installation that started out being called ‘Lumbee Legends’ then in another incarnation was ‘Homecooked Stories’ and then made it’s most recent appearance at the Baltimore Museum of Industry as part of the Hard Workin’ Pilgrims: Lumbee Indians in Baltimore City Industry’ exhibit in 2011 (funded by Maryland Traditions Program MSAC). There are five artist books that I made about five Lumbee elders who moved to Baltimore from North Carolina. Each book includes an oral history given by the elder, a transcription of the history and images from the elder’s life.

“The other project I’ll focus on is ‘The Exquisite Lumbee.’ I got the idea for the title from an exquisite corpse (cadavre exquis) artist book I made which contains headshots of 30 Lumbee young people of my own generation (all average age 30) and [which] allows the audience to create different combinations of our facial features and hair. The purpose of this book was to illustrate the truth that Lumbee people do have a distinctive look and that We Are All Related. In addition to the book, I collaborated with each of the 30 young Lumbee people and photographer Sean Scheidt to make a series of portraits, in which each of us is wearing clothing of our choice and we are beautifully lit, almost like super heroes. Included in the portraits is text, written by each of the participants, expressing something that we are proud of in our lives. The portraits are printed almost life size and hung at eye level, so that in an exhibition space, the audience is “surrounded by Indians!” The primary purpose for this project was to honor all of the participants, to remind us that we are exquisite, that we have a lot to be proud of and that we are the bearers of a cultural legacy that is greater than ourselves. Also, it served to educate the general public about what an “Indian” looks like… we don’t typically look like what you see in the old Westerns on TV.”
The image above is “The Exquisite Lumbee” Portrait Series “Jeremy” Ashley Minner, Text by Jeremy Larue Locklear, Digital Photograph by Sean Scheidt, 28 ¾ x 20 ½“ 2010

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