‘Where I’m From’ Explores History through Places Artist Called Home
Charlotte artist Bree Stallings hosts her second solo exhibition Friday April 5, 2019 at C3 Lab in its extended transitional gallery space. “Where I’m From” is a large-scale, immersive installation which centers on Bree’s experience as a multicultural, non-affluent, native Charlottean by focusing on the homes she’s lived in throughout her life.
It explores her current home (the first place she’s ever lived alone), childhood homes which have either been torn down or lost to foreclosure, the places she lived when her parents were between housing, and the physical bodies she has occupied: her own and her mother’s.
This is part of a series of arts and cultural events exploring themes of redlining, homelessness and poverty. While the exhibit is on view, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Art and photographer Alvin C. Jacobs (Welcome to Brookhill, No Justice, No Peace) will host “A History of Housing: Displacement and Reclamation.”
“This installation comes from me exploring a couple themes in my life: family stories as they pertain to secrets and the truth, my own body image and the housing insecurity crisis in the Charlotte region,” said Stallings.
“The house I grew up in was lost to foreclosure on my 21st birthday. We no longer have access to other homes I made so many memories in, due to a lack of generational wealth and traumatic events. It makes me curious to think about where I’m from if the physical people and places aren’t even around to visit anymore. I hope it inspires everyone to delve this deeply into their past, to examine some of their family’s stories and find the celebration in it all.”
She said Charlotte had a tremendous role in shaping the person she’s become.
“I come from an interesting dichotomy. I grew up under the guidance of an immigrant grandmother from Japan and a set of third-generation Charlottean natives. Watching Charlotte grow and change, the same way I have — sometimes striving for ‘betterness’ without fully understanding all the consequences — is bittersweet.
“Like Charlotte, I too, feel like I’m searching for my world identity, while coming to terms with my dark past.”
Guests enter through a loading dock into a 6,000 square foot warehouse space with several interactive elements, including a “wishing wall” on the back edge of the room which consists of family mementos, photos, letters, secrets and stories hanging from a fishnet. Participants are invited to hang items of their own and create an altar of sorts.
The exhibit begins at 7 p.m., with a performance by world-renowned poet Jay Ward starting promptly at 7:30. Ward will perform his one-man show about growing up biracial in the South, called “Things I Would Say.”
Entry is free, but Stallings has requested community support for her work. Donations can be made at www.breestallings.com/where-im-from.
C3 Lab is located at 2525 Distribution St in Charlotte.