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The Voice of the Black Community

Arts and Entertainment

The walls really get to talk at mural festival
Charlotte showcase through Oct. 13
Published Saturday, October 13, 2018 2:44 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Prepare for unapologetic blackness.

Dammit Wesley is one of the featured artists in Talking Walls, a mural festival running through Oct. 13 throughout Charlotte. Wesley, one of 17 artists participating, will be featured at UNC Charlotte’s Center City location in the Perspective Gallery and Spirit Square. His theme is “unapologetic blackness.”

“Going through the city of Charlotte, it seems like people try to hide how minority driven the city is, like people have tried to suppress how black the history of the city is,” Wesley said. “I just want to reflect that in the public and on the walls. That’s my job.”

Charlotte’s corporate image as a financial hub in the Southeast, as well as the home of an NFL and an NBA franchise offers a complex dichotomy as it pertains to the role of people of color.

“You have two large sports franchises, and people of color [in the Panthers’ Cam Newton and Hornets’ Kemba Walker] as the face of those franchises, yet still they kind are kind of subjected to the same systematic racism that all of us face,” Wesley said. “I find it ironic and a bit endearing that Bank of America Stadium can be filled with Cam Newton jerseys on everyone’s back, but still regular guys who look like Cam Newton can’t get a pass, can’t get respect. They are looked down and frowned upon.”

Blackness is not a singular element to be applauded only in a certain setting.

“It’s this strange juxtaposition of how blackness can be praised during the right times, or blackness can only be praised on a football field or on a court,” Wesley said. “My work is more or less forcing people to kind of get that adoration. It is very bright, very loud, very colorful on purpose, with the intent of intent of enamoring people, forcing you to not necessarily accept the truth about yourself, but accept the truth about me, and other people who look like me.”  

Note: The inaugural Talking Walls festival is a collaboration between the Arts & Science Council, Center City Partners and Queens University of Charlotte. It features six local artists, four regional and eight national/international.

Detailed lineup:

Local: Garden of Journey, Arko & Owl, Nick Napoletano, Dammit Wesley, Darion Fleming, Obso

Regional: Jeks, Scott Nurkin, Gus Cutty, Sebastian Coolidge

National/International: Trasher, Denton Burrows, Hoxxoh, McMonster, Ramiro Davaro-Comas, MDMN, Pucho

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