Artists rage against the status quo
When Charlotte-based artist Meredith Connelly heard about the Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade in June, she was overcome with a sense of helplessness.
“I just felt a lot of grief and a lot of anger, and I felt that I couldn't be the only one,” Connelly said.
At first, she sat at her kitchen table and read headline after headline in disbelief. Then she snapped into action.
“I started reaching out to a couple of creatives that were friends of mine just to gauge interest and was like, do we do a show? Should we do a show? And then from there it just grew,” she said.
Within six weeks, she had pulled together a show of 25 local and national artists representing diverse identities and backgrounds.
Support from Charlotte is Creative and a Cultural Vision Grant allowed the show, "Not in Repose," to fund supplies and shipping costs for immigrant, Black, Indigenous and LGBTQ artists.
Their work, more than 55 pieces of art, will be on display starting Friday at the Goodyear Arts gallery in Camp North End. The venue agreed to donate its commission fee from the show to the Carolina Abortion Fund.
“It's not just Roe v. Wade. It's climate justice, it's gun control, it's civil unrest, it's LGBTQIA+ rights, it's Indigenous genocide and Indigenous rights,” Connelly said. “I think it's safe to say it's going to be stirring.”
If that all seems like a lot, artist Bree Stallings agrees.
“I think if we peel back the sadness and the anger, I think we'll all find that we're just really, really tired,” Stallings said.
In her self-portrait for the show, Stallings sleeps naked in a dreamscape of leaves, colors and coy fish. She pulls symbolism from her Southern and Japanese heritage.
“It's really bright, it's really vivid and, you know, it's really beautiful. But there still is this chaos that's happening. I'm choosing to rest at the intersection,” Stallings said. “The most radical thing I can think to do right now is to rest.”
Connelly says opening night will be a multisensory experience with lights, video, poetry and music.
“It's going to, I believe, evoke questions, potential discomfort with certain works and also hopefully connection and understanding,” Connelly said. “It is not a censored show. There is some nudity and there are mature topics.”
The exhibition runs for three weeks at Goodyear Arts. Opening night is Friday from 6-9 p.m. While admission is free, organizers are accepting sanitary pads and hope to donate them to local schools.