Rhonda Klevansky: Reaching Out to Durham’s Hungry
Thursday, October 14, 2021 6pm in Main Gallery, 21c Durham
Rhonda Klevansky, is a South African videographer, photographer, writer who lives in Durham, NC. She has worked on a range of nature films for broadcasters in the UK, South Africa, and South America, advocacy videos and articles for non-profit organizations, and has written a children’s book about big cats. In her personal photography and film-work, Klevansky exposes the fault lines of our society by focusing her lens on the valiant efforts of “ordinary” people to confront and mend the inequities. The heart of her work is informed by her family’s history of migration from war-torn Eastern Europe and her witnessing of oppression perpetuated in Apartheid South Africa
In Reaching Out to Durham’s Hungry she shone a light on the extraordinary efforts by people who provided food to those who needed it. She photographed individuals who ran food pantries, restaurant owners who provided free meals, bakers who give away bread, farmers, a cheese maker, people who delivered food boxes to vulnerable, impoverished families, medical students who took food to the homes of outpatients, and a young woman who is used the money she earned from dog walking to make healthy meals for the homeless. These photographs were exhibited in the vitrines of 21c Museum Hotel Durham, The Museum of Durham History, Durham Arts Council, Central Park, and on the fence of Bull McCabe’s Pub.
Her portrait series, Fragments of Another Life, Refugees, Exiles and Their Stories, was exhibited in the UK, USA, and South Africa. Here, Klevansky collaborated with the refugees and asylum seekers she photographed, to transform their images into personal documents by the adding prose, poetry, and artwork.
Klevansky’s personal video work includes Community Threads, a short film made during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Welcome to My Paradise, about sand artists on the beaches of Durban, South Africa, and One Band Indivisible about a Durham high school marching band. She is currently writing a documentary memoir to accompany thirty years of images she created in Patagonia.
Tamika Galanis is a documentarian and multimedia visual artist. A Bahamian native, Galanis’s work examines the complexities of living in a place shrouded in tourism’s ideal during the age of climate concerns. Emphasizing the importance of Bahamian cultural identity for cultural preservation, Galanis documents aspects of Bahamian life not curated for tourist consumption to intervene in the historical archive. This work counters the widely held paradisiacal view of the Caribbean, the origins of which arose post-emancipation through a controlled, systematic visual framing, and commodification of the tropics.
Galanis’s photography-based-practice includes traditional documentary work and new media abstractions of written, oral, and archival histories.
Galanis’s work has been exhibited in the Bahamas, United States, Europe, Taiwan, and throughout the Caribbean with film screenings including the Trinidad and Tobago International Film Festival, The Bahamas International Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, BlackStar Film Festival, and the inaugural Smithsonian African American Film Festival.
Galanis earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Experimental and Documentary Arts from Duke University. She was awarded the inaugural Post-MFA Fellowship in the Documentary Arts by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Galanis then completed a residency at John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress where she was awarded the Jon B. Lovelace Fellowship for the study of the Alan Lomax Collection. As the Lovelace-Lomax Fellow, Galanis repatriated the Lomax Bahamian materials to their communities of origin.
Sartor will talk about and read from her series, The Problem of Human Behavior, part of larger series she calls TORN,a personal and an ongoing exploration into storytelling using the combined languages of words and images.
Pictures and stories have long served the function of preserving memory, of making transitory experience into something that can be handed down or carried with us; they provide a shield against time, a salve for loss. Everyday experience is, for each of us, an imaginative and subjective construction, assembled from the building blocks of real people and real events.
The Problem of Human Behavior is a mixed media series, a personal investigation into how taking pieces of a story out of the context of a larger story can create new meaning and, sometimes, becomes a revelation of how we see, find, and create our own stories — which is, essentially, how we create ourselves.
“We tell ourselves stories in order to live,” writes Joan Didion. But stories can also tell us.
They can tell us how to remember or how to forget, how to hold on to experiences or how to purge ourselves of them. And stories provide a way of reaching for answers where answers are rarely found: in the realm of human behavior. Most importantly, they can get us from one side of something to the other, from the before to what comes after, which is meaning.
Margaret Sartor is a writer, curator, and visual artist who lives in Durham, NC. Her books include Where We Find Ourselves: The Photographs of Hugh Mangum 1897–1922 (with Alex Harris), What Was True: The Photographs and Notebooks of William Gedney (with Geoff Dyer), and the New York Times best-selling memoir Miss American Pie: A Diary of Love, Secrets, and Growing Up in the 1970s. Sartor’s photographs and essays have appeared in numerous books and publications, among them The Paris Review, Aperture, The New Yorker, and, most recently, Visible Spectrum: Portraits from the World of Autism by Mary Berridge. Her photographs are in permanent collections including: Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, and North Carolina Museum of Art. As a curator, Sartor has worked with, among others, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, International Center for Photography in New York, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
from Fallujah. A series of talks at PS118
Artist talk by John Bechtold and Noor Ghazi
Curator Talk: Thursday, October 21; 7:00pm
Guest curator, photographer, 21 year Army veteran, and UNC-Chapel Hill American Studies PhD candidate, John Bechtold with guest scholar Noor Ghaz will talk about war in public memory and some of the curatorial choices which informed this visual project. From Fallujah is a group photography exhibit featuring the work of four emerging Iraqi photographers. The exhibit proceeds from the idea that the best way to learn about a place is through the people who live there. Our purpose is to simply make another story about Fallujah visible to American audiences, one that departs from its militarized meaning in public memory. Fallujah is not an Iraq War battlefield. It is a place where people work, attend school, and frequent public spaces wanting what we all want, a chance to peaceably choose our lives. This exhibit seeks to literally install an Iraqi perspective in an American space. With this in mind, audiences can expect to view photographs displayed in a more traditional mode, as well as arranged in a recreated Iraqi living space in the front of the gallery. After a twenty-one-year career in the United States Army, John Bechtold is living his second act of life as an artist and academic. He was in Iraq twice, once as a platoon leader and once again as an advisor to the Iraqi Army. That experience continues to shape how he sees the world. John holds a Master’s degree from Duke University and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the American Studies program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His dissertation explores the representation of war in American public memory.
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