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Arts and Entertainment

A new way for Chrlotte artists to exhibit ‘Off the Plantation’
Shows mix exhibition and performance art
Published Thursday, October 8, 2020 10:00 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Charlotte artists bring their talents to “Off the Plantation,” a two-part show with a limited engagement from Oct. 8-10, followed by part two Feb. 18-20.

Elder Gallery is creating a different gallery experience.

“Off the Plantation” is a two-part show with a limited engagement from Oct. 8-10, followed by part two Feb. 18-20. Both will require registration and masks. The gallery will be open from 5-9 p.m. each day. Registration is currently available for the October run. Reservations for the February show will open on Jan. 10.

The show features Charlotte-based artists Carla Aaron-Lopez, artistically known as kingcarla, Dammit Wesley, Fart.PDF, Kiana Mui, Kyle Mosher and Sir Will. Part one is more performance-based, with the second part taking on more of an exhibition feel.

“It’s this radical idea of restructuring how the art world and art institutions work with artists, hence the name ‘Off the Plantation,’” curator Dammit Wesley said. “We’re going to inject the gallery world with some ideas that should have been implemented a long time ago to see if we can change the culture of how art exists in the city of Charlotte, and hopefully we can use the Elder Gallery as the proper model of how to survive as an art institution in a post-Instagram, post-Internet world.”

The concept for the show began in 2019 with the gallery’s Millennial Arts Program during Kyle Mosher’s art talk, where he pointed out the flaws in the gallery system. He created work illustrating the concept, with two vultures sitting on a branch waiting for an artist to die in order to profit from the artist’s work. His talk resulted in conversations with gallery owner Sonya Pfeiffer, which led to the exhibit.

“We were brainstorming ways to create a different gallery experience,” said Pfeiffer, a practicing civil rights and criminal defense attorney. “When I took over [in 2017], my whole intent was this is a great way to engage people in dialogue about what can often be challenging topics if you take them on in a traditional way. If you have a town hall or if you bring people for a specific conversation, whether it is race, women or immigration—whatever the tough topic of the day is, I have always felt that art has this special place to help us communicate.”
As the country continues to acknowledge the impact of systemic racism, it must also include the gallery world.

“The name ‘Off the Plantation’ is one of my radical ideas for how we’re addressing the inequities between these prestigious white institutions and the artists,” Dammit Wesley said.
“Off the Plantation” calls out institutions preying on those who do not conform to whitewashed standards in not just the art world, but every structure touched by American capitalism.

“I felt like arts and culture was this space for us to come together,” Pfeiffer said. “I learned that it’s really not that different from every other structure that we have in place and that those who are marginalized in other industries and other institutions are just as marginalized in the world of arts and culture. There’s a certain establishment that exists so that a lot of artists feel that they are not allowed in, that they will never be allowed in.”

The goal of the exhibit is to break down the walls by giving control to the artists.

“It’s about taking what exists as a platform of power and handing that power to those who feel they have not had it,” Pfeiffer said.

For more information: https://eldergalleryclt.com/off-the-plantation-exhibition


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