Interactive art exhibit invites public interaction
The Florence Regional Arts Alliance will introduce a new exhibition to the Florence County Museum’s Waters Gallery June 27-Sept. 30. The exhibition will feature the work of Ms. IlaSahai Prouty and includes an opening in the Waters Gallery Sunday afternoon June 26, at 4 p.m. All are invited to explore the work and meet the artist.
The Gallery is located at 135 South Dargan Street in Florence. This exhibition titled, A Social Construction, offers the possibility of reclaiming and redefining the language we use to construct the categories of race. It includes the Paper Bag Test, an interactive installation that invites the public to define and reclaim skin tones and color as associated with race.
Historically, the paper bag test was said to have been used to separate black people into two categories – those lighter than a paper bag, and those darker. Access to parties and clubs was assigned based on this criteria. The artist remembers thinking, “Which paper bag are we using?” when she first heard about the test.
The artist’s goals are to engage people in thinking about how we use words to describe, imply and evaluate race, to ask them to reflect on how they see their own skin tone and the skin tones of others, and to present race as a social, as opposed to scientific, construction. “I want to add back the nuance and discovery that comes when we truly try to understand and know one another.”
Her work prompts us to contemplate how we define and give power, develop identity and build the narratives of our culture. For those wishing to learn more, an in-depth Q& A session will take place Monday, June 27th at noon in the Waters Building during a Lunch & Learn. The cost for lunch is $10. Tickets may be purchased at www.florenceartsalliance.org or by calling 843-407-3092.
Prouty is an Assistant Professor of Art at Appalachian State University. She received her MFA from the California College of Art in the Bay Area, and teaches Art for Social Change, Senior Studio among other courses. She is co-author of three books about experiential education, and trains people on facilitation techniques through Project Adventure, Inc.
Prouty was a resident artist at the Penland School of Crafts and has exhibited throughout the United States. Her public works include pieces for the Charlotte, N.C. Medical Examiners Office and the Waring School in Beverly, Mass. Learn more about the artist at www.ilasahaiprouty. net This exhibition is part of a solo-exhibition award the Florence Regional Arts Alliance presented to a participating ArtFields® artist this year in collaboration with the Florence County Museum.
The support of Florence Downtown and Diversity Works Magazine makes this exhibit possible. The Waters Gallery is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m.–5 p.m. There is no admission fee and all are encouraged to learn more this summer and explore their own perceptions of identity and labels. The Florence Regional Arts Alliance is a community-based local arts agency that serves the citizens of Florence County and the Pee Dee.