The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs presents conNECKted: Imaginings for Truth and Reconciliation, a multi-media installation by the Charleston Rhizome Collective, at City Gallery July 22 through August 27, 2017. The exhibition will open with a reception Friday, July 21 from 5 to 7 p.m. A schedule of related events and workshops will be available here. All events are free and open to the public.
Led by artists Jean-Marie Mauclet and Gwylene Gallimard, with members of the Charleston Rhizome Collective including educators/activists Pamella Gibbs, La’Sheia Oubre and Debra Holt, the artistic team for conNECKted has developed interactive pieces that will be installed throughout City Gallery. conNECKted is an Art-in/with community project that seeks to explore social dynamics and to question cultural expression in Charleston.
The NECK of conNECKted refers to anatomy as well as the geography of Charleston, where the “NECK” happens to be one area of significant development and change. The goal is to challenge Charleston to engage with the issues at play by amplifying the voices of people most susceptible to displacement, utilizing creative community-engaged arts strategies and actions.
This gallery-wide installation features a series of uniquely-built cultural spaces and community videos, allowing for exchanges, conversations, improvisations and events between artists, educators, activists and citizens. The members of the Charleston Rhizome Collective have developed interactive pieces, including “Debra & Geraldine’s street,” “Nautical stories,” “Penetrable Banners and Poetry for Memorialization with Action,” “Peace Scrolls by Youth,” “A low-line of Portraits of the News Media,” “ Imagination Tables” and sound installations. Designed for interactivity, visitors are invited to participate in game-like mappings, enter ideas into a Book of Grievances in the shadow of a Justice Tree, initiate “Cultural Impact Studies” (to parallel Environmental Impact Studies), discover stories from neighbors and add their own. Creative gallery tours will be led by the conNECKted team, volunteers, and poets. There will be seating in the space to encourage visitors to stay longer and engage in further reflection.
On Saturdays from 10am to 5pm, as well as select Tuesday and Thursday evenings, the artists will conduct “Imaginings for Truth and Reconciliation” workshops, proposals and performances-in-progress. Discussions will be led by engaged artists, educators, activists and citizens who are dedicated to youth and adults. Workshops and discussions will be in multiple formats; a detailed list of events will be available at the City Gallery website, www.charleston-sc.gov/citygallery.
conNECKted seeks to more deeply explore social, economic, and educational policies and practices through a social justice lens. The artistic team notes, “The goal is to realize that, in this era of displacement and denial of history and culture, “Belonging” is the key to empowerment and transformation, the cornerstone of our present and future realities.”
conNECKted will end with the festive “Launching Weekend” of August 25-27. With community input, new plans will be launched for continued dialogue in the future. All visual elements, documents and processes will be documented and made available moving forward as art tools to accompany the journey.
About the Artists
THE CHARLESTON RHIZOME COLLECTIVE is an Art-in/with community group, where education, art and activism intersect. By design, it is grassroots, inter-racial and inter-generational. Through the arts, they aim to amplify the voices of neighborhoods absent from public and private plans: social, cultural and economic. Parts of the “conNECKted” project are supported by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, Alternate ROOTS (Partners in Action Program and Artistic Assistance), We Shall Overcome Fund, Rajni Shah Productions (One Final Act), the US Department of Arts & Culture (a non-profit organization, not a government agency) and the N.E.W. Fund from The Coastal Community Foundation.