Charlotte Street Foundation exhibit confronts America’s incomplete stories
The Charlotte Street Foundation Gallery recently opened a new art exhibition, “With Liberty and Justice.“
Artists from across the country exhibit paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos and poetry. The exhibit offers views from different racial and cultural backgrounds that create a more comprehensive picture of American history.
“I ask you to enter this space with a lens of empathy,” Kansas City artist Courtney Faye Taylor told visitors. âMost of all, I ask that you be changed. “
Walking through the gallery is like walking through a picture book. The pieces rise from the ground and immerse you in stories and stories often forgotten or put aside in the United States. Andrew Mcilvaine is a local artist and UMKC graduate who participated in the event. His works “Ascension” and “Float” are presented in the exhibition and tell the story of a family crossing the Rio Grande.
(Andrew Mclivaine, Flotador, 2020)
In his research, Mcilvaine discovered that these scenes tend to occur in the dark of the night and early in the morning. The cobalt blue and white paint he chose as his medium transforms the scene from obscured forms in the gloom to a clear image of humans making a grueling crossing.
âVisibility is a big part of these works,â Mcilvaine said in an interview about his contributions to the exhibition. âI want these images to be seen by more people and for longer periods of time. “
This aspect is also reflected in the other works in the exhibition. Each piece adds a different story or explores a different experience in America.
Courtney Faye Taylor is a poet and mixed media artist. His work “Light Attire” is a chaotic and striking play made from mutilated images and descriptions of black women and girls from wanted and missing posters.
âScanty dress is my way of making sure black women and girls don’t disappear from our consideration,â Taylor said. “This is my way of saying that our lived experiences, our worth and our humanity are worth remembering.”
Unlike most other rooms, the sorry white background and the baffling images have a spooky effect. It draws attention to a more cruel and harsh story pushed to the fringes of everyday life.
The variety of pieces and tones represented in the exhibit reflect the very different lives and challenges that Americans face depending on the color of their skin or the language they speak at home.
âDon’t be ashamed of your past; own that past and use it to your advantage, âMclivaine said. “It’s a force, it’s a superpower.”
“With Liberty and Justice” is located at the CSF Gallery at 3333 Wyoming Street, Kansas City, MO. It will be open until October 23, and the Charlotte Street Foundation will also be hosting other events associated with the exhibition. For more information, visit the Charlotte Street Foundation website website.