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“Potlucks are a simple custom that seems to transcend political affiliation, economic status, religious orientation, and all other social demographics. While the culture of rural communities is constantly changing, the simple gathering of humans around food is not. Our memories, histories, and traditions are intertwined with food as communication.”
“Through its symbology and subsequent sound, the American Ledger No. 2 recounts episodes of the region’s forced migrations, both into and out of the city,” Raven Chacon has written. “To be performed by either a large ensemble or a soloist, American Ledger No.2 utilizes a battery of classical, jazz, and indigenous instruments, in conjunction with other playable objects and artifacts. The score can be presented as a flag, a billboard, railroad debris, or any pyrographed object sourced from the region.”
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“This work is a journey of research and reconciliation. I look into the past, upon the histories of Black people in this country – I look into the gaping ambiguity of what is the beginning of Black identity,” Jovan C. Speller writes. “I attempt to conjure the ‘who’ that we were before we were stolen, transported, sold and exploited. At least, that’s where I began. Swallowed by the missing and forgotten ancestors and traditions. Where I have arrived is a different place entirely. Standing somewhere at the edge of the end and a beginning.”
From his home and studio in Pilot Mound, Minnesota, Karl Unnasch creates public works, often incorporating stained glass, wood, metal and other materials. Through placing rural narratives within the ecological, social, and historical traditions of each site, the artist creates structures with playful, nostalgic, and often provocative allusions. While many contemporary artists have incorporated vernacular elements of their lived, rural experience into their creative vision, few produce work that so subtly upends cultural expectations of subject matter and form.