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Aswarm With the Spirits of All Ages Here: Inconceivable Spaces of Slavery and Freedom by Toni Scott
This special installation project by artist Toni Scott seeks to re-articulate spaces where memories of bondage trouble our present-day notions of ‘home’ and ‘land of the free’. The ordeal of the enslaved in both material and existential terms is important for the public’s understanding of the history of the African American presence in North Carolina and elsewhere. This exhibition provides multiple lenses through which bondage, as well as the will towards freedom, can be viewed, re-imagined and, perhaps, better understood. The installation encourages us to reconnect the themes of freedom and liberty to the lives of enslaved people and to geographies of place and exile; to re-sacralize the ground where ancestors toiled and were buried – to re/discover transformed ‘spaces’ that were capable of redefining what it meant to be a free person, even if only in spirit, in an era where bondage was more often the defining dynamic.
A multimedia artist, Toni studied the classic and contemporary masters, is a former student of the Otis College of Art and Design and has a BA from the University of Southern California. Her work ranges from lifelike sculptures cast in bronze and fiberglass, to carvings in marble, alabaster, soapstone and Douglas fir-wood from which she carves totem poles which stand over nine feet tall. Her paintings range from large scale colorful figurative works to masterful representational paintings in oil.