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Robin North | 'Rewoven Narratives: Cotton, History, Modernity, and the Black Southern Experience'

Robin North's "Air Cotton."
Robin North / Art Produce
Robin North's "Air Cotton."
Every week from July 9, 2024 until August 17, 2024.
Thursday: 2 PM - 5 PM
Friday: 2 PM - 5 PM
Art Produce
Free
Opening reception: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 9. Gallery also viewable by appointment

Rewoven Narratives: Cotton, History, Modernity, and the Black Southern Experience offers a profound exploration of the deep connections between the past and present in the deep rural Texas South. Through North’s artistic lens, visitors are invited to engage with the intricate fabric of family, collective memory, and a heterogeneous culture that defines the region. The exhibit examines the transatlantic slave trade's impact, focusing on Black Atlantic themes and creolization. The Black Atlantic highlights the cultural network formed by the African diaspora, while creolization refers to the blending of African, European, and Indigenous cultures. This fusion shapes the rich traditions of the American South.

North's skillful blend of photography, oral histories, artifacts, and cotton creates an immersive experience that transcends time and place. It allows viewers to reflect on the complex layers of Southern heritage. The exhibition serves as both a showcase of North's artistic evolution and a testament to the enduring power of storytelling.

Central to the exhibition is an examination of how the legacy of slavery and the cotton industry continues to shape the fabric of modern society in the region. By delving into the economic, social, and cultural impacts of these historical forces, the exhibition sheds light on the enduring inequalities and structures that persist today.

Through North's use of cotton as both a medium and a narrative device, visitors are encouraged to contemplate its dual significance: as the economic backbone of the slavery- driven South and as a symbol of resilience and reclaiming Black heritage. This artistic commentary offers a poignant reflection on the intersection of historical trauma and contemporary resilience, emphasizing the ongoing relevance of these narratives in shaping present-day social and cultural dynamics.

Related events:
Exhibition: July 9 to August 17 2024
Opening Reception: Tuesday, July 9 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Gallery hours:
Art Produce Gallery Hours:
Thursdays & Fridays 2-5 p.m.
or by appointment by emailing HERE.

About the Artist:
Robin North holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Houston with a concentration in Photography and Digital Media and a Master of Fine Arts in Art with a program emphasis on Photography and Multimedia from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA.

As an interdisciplinary visual artist, educator, and archivist, his passion lies in
preserving and celebrating the rich histories of Black families in the rural Deep American South. North delves into the complex histories and contemporary implications of cotton, slavery, modernity, and Black reclamation in the Deep South. North's work often incorporates mixed media, multimedia, and alternative photographic processes such as
cyanotypes and platinum/palladium prints. He is known for his experimental narratives and portraits exploring identity and social change themes.

His journey began when his grandmother entrusted him with his family's archives in 2006, unveiling a treasure trove of stories from generations past, captured in photographs, documents, and oral histories. Inspired by the resilience, joy, and perseverance within these narratives, Robin embarked on a personal quest to understand and share his family's roots. This journey gained deeper significance in 2016 when his uncle, James North, a fellow artist, shared his battle with Alzheimer’s disease—a poignant reminder of his time serving in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War, where he was exposed to the harmful effects of Agent Orange.

During this time, his family and the broader Black Jackson County community asked him to tell their stories through his visual arts practice, family archives and his scholarly work to ensure they were not lost to time. This profound request propelled him to found "Keeper of the Walls"; a digital repository dedicated to collecting, digitizing, mapping, and sharing Black family archives from Jackson County, Texas. This project serves as a virtual space where families like his can contribute their photographs, documents, and stories, ensuring that their legacies endure for future generations.

Related links:
Art Produce: website | Instagram | Facebook

Art Produce

3139 University Ave.
San Diego, California 92104
619-584-4448

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Dates and times of events are subject to change without notice. Always check the event organizer's website for the most updated schedule before attending.