-June 1 to July 28, 2024, The Residency Exhibition

Reception on Saturday June 1, 2024 from 6PM to 8PM

-Photographs from: Claire Savary, France; Grace Ekpu, Nigeria; Svet Jacqueline, Russia-USA; Patrick Artinian & Louise Oligny, France, Canada; Julia Gillard, USA; Andrea Ratto, Italy; Jimmy Beunardeau, France; Matt Stuart, United Kingdom; Vincent Nguyen, France; Reins Hofmanis, Latvia; Kasia Strek, Poland; Céline Sarr, France

This is the last year of the Residency Program. It has been an incredible 7 years (with a short interruption caused by the covid pandemic). Since September 1, 2017, 69 photographers from all continents have come to Wilson, NC to create, for a month long each, a portfolio of the daily life in Wilson. When you think about it for a second, give or take a few, it means that for 2500 continuous days we had a professional photographer looking at our community. The final results are breathtaking, a time capsule forever. These portfolios will be cherished for a very long time to come. 

-July 31 to September 1, 2024

-Steep Price, Oh Soon Hwa   

This proposed photographic series will inform viewers of the detailed production processes of the saree and textile industry and follow the daily lives of some Muslim families who are involved in this trade. Particularly, this photographic narration pays attention to women who play a pivotal role in holding the family business together by keeping the business account, spinning yarn, trimming excess sari, as well as taking care of house chores, cooking, and childcare. Abiding by Islamic religious rules, women in Varanasi seem to lead invisible lives in their private quarters, although they are indispensable members of the silk saree trade. This monograph depicts the multifaceted and complex lives of the Muslim community in Varanasi and their livelihood in the textile and saree weaving industry.   

The Ganges River that runs along the holy city of Varanasi has been famously photographed as an exotic and spiritual place by portraying Hindu worshipers, Ghats, holy temples, and cremation sites. Behind the spiritual portrayals of the city, everyday life in Varanasi includes Muslims, who represent 30% of the city’s population, and the vast majority, which is 95% of the Muslim population, works in textile trades, mainly as weavers.    During my first stay in India in 2008 through the UNESCO-Aschberg bursaries program at the Sanskriti foundation, I became interested in the silk craftsmanship and decided to explore the city of Varanasi, a famous place where the silk weaving industry is the leading manufacturing activity. Through my interactions with locals and personal research, I discovered the working and living conditions of a whole community (i.e., nearly 90 % of the Muslim community in Varanasi) that relies almost exclusively on the success of the silk weaving business. 

The silk weaving has attracted considerable interest from numerous foreign luxury brand companies and European interior designers, opening new markets. However, Muslim weavers somehow seemed not to have benefited from the new prospects for the weaving industry. On the contrary, they have been exposed to increased competition from Chinese silk traders, who can mass-produce at lower costs and efforts, and the technical changes in weaving techniques practiced in other countries that integrate computer design.    Upon returning to Varanasi in December 2013, with the support of several leaders of the Muslim community, I was given access to the social pillars of their community (e.g., madrasa and dispute resolution council), master weavers’ workshops, and many weaver family households. They shared with me their way of life, their traditions, and their concerns regarding the dim prospects of an activity that has been passed down through generations and has recently been threatened by both industrialization and globalization. They allowed me to capture and understand the working process and the hierarchical relationship existing between master weavers and weavers—the first ones providing the raw materials and work opportunity, and the latest providing their labor. In weaver homes, everyone over the age of 10 contributes to the tasks. Men are assigned the physically strenuous work such as weaving, while women do embroidery and clean up the textile surface. Children quit school to support the weaving family business by either weaving or embroidering. In one room, family members representing up to 4 generations weave together, from the grandfather, father, and son to the grandchild. The business model based on craftsmanship and family households on which the Muslim community of Varanasi relies for its subsistence is seriously at stake.

-Wilson Memories, Vincent Nguyen

A photographic project on Memory, History and Territory

I asked 14 persons to tell em a personal or family memory related to the time of segregation or slevery and connected to a place in the city or county.

Each person here is from a family of Wilson for several generations

They live on the same territory with their personal memories accumulated through a common history that affected everyone different ways.

-Rediscovering Walker Evans

Walker Evans (November 3, 1903 – April 10, 1975) was an American photographer and photojournalist known for his work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) documenting the effects of the Great Depression. Much of Evans' work from the FSA period uses the large format, 8X10-inch (200X250 mm) view camera. He said that his goal as a photographer was to make pictures that are "literate, authoritative, transcendent". Many of his works are in the permanent collections of museums and have been the subject of retrospectives at such institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the George Eastman Museum. In 1994, the estate of Walker Evans handed over its holdings to New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the sole copyright holder for all works of art in all media by Walker Evans. The only exception is a group of about 1,000 negatives in collection of the Library of Congress, which were produced for the Resettlement Administration and Farm Security Administration; these works are in the public domain. Discover -or rediscover- 30 new prints selected from the collections of the Library of Congress for this unique exhibition at The American Center for Photographers.

-September 4 to September 29, 2024

-Un Conte en Suisse, Eric Franceschi

 "... the authentic time machine only works when we return to the highlights of our distant past that still resonate so deeply that we are sucked out of our shoes towards the emotional content that still permeates these places." Jim Harrison, "Westward Ho" in I Forgot to Go to Spain   I was 7 went I took my first photograph with a small black bakelite camera, a gift from my aunt Marguerite. A colour shot of a blurry boat on Lake Geneva. I was almost 57 when I decided to finally pay a contemporary photographic tribute to this Vaud Riviera that I never stopped visiting since my earliest years. It is the story of a unique place, nestled between Vevey and Montreux, inhabited by my family and my memories. The Riviera of Vaud.   "He had retired to Switzerland. He dwelt in a sort of tall hovel on the banks of Lake Geneva. He had chosen his dwelling in the most rugged nook of the lake, between Chillon, where the dungeon of Bonnivard is, and Vevey, where Ludlow is buried. The stern Alps, filled with twilight, winds, and clouds, wrapped around him; and he lived there, hidden in the great shadows that fall from the mountains." Victor Hugo, The Man Who Laughs.

-Chernobyl, Pierpaolo Mittica

On 26 April 1986, at 1:24 a.m., the worst technological catastrophe of the modern era occurred, affecting the lives of millions of people. That night, reactor number four of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded. The explosion released tons of radioactive dust into the air, which, carried by the winds, contaminated both hemispheres of the planet, settling wherever it rained. Almost all of Europe was contaminated: sixty-five million people were affected. Today, nine million people in Belarus, Ukraine and western Russia continue to live in areas with very high levels of radioactivity and consume contaminated food and water. It is estimated that the most contaminated areas stretching over 260.000 square kilometers of land, (almost as large as Italy) will return to normal radioactive levels in about one hundred thousand years time.   Eighty per cent of the population of Belarus, western Russia and northern Ukraine suffer from numerous radiation-related illnesses. After the Chernobyl accident, an exclusion zone was created around the nuclear power plant with a radius of thirty kilometers. All inhabitants of the area were evacuated. But the area that was supposed to be an exclusion and dead zone never was. There is a lot of life in the area and today more than 4000 people are part of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone community. The photographer, Pierpaolo Mittica spent six years documenting the life inside and outside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, covering also stories that were never documented before.

-October 2 to October 27, 2024

-Men and Giants (Des hommes et des géants): Bertrand Desprez

Men and giants   They dance under the skirts of their giants, observing the world through a small opening, these balancing carriers play with gravity. Whirling in the heart of the crowd captivated by these immense characters straight from the past. Giant bearers appear with the creation of giants. This is a real challenge when we know that giants can weigh up to 130 kilos. Each giant is accompanied by its group of carriers who take turns to move it forward or dance. In the 19th century, porters were recruited from working-class circles. The Gayant de Douai (the largest) was created in 1530 by the corporation of basket makers. Giants appear in urban religious processions in Western European cities from the end of the 14th century or the beginning of the 15th century. Founding giant, warrior or representative of a small trade, animal or marginal, giants of the mine or the coast, giant of Flanders Their mysterious origins lead to daydreaming. Because these wicker bellies make young and old dream, they exorcise sorrows and torments, with the support, sometimes of a colorful escort. There are nearly 300 of them in the Hauts de France region. Out of the workshops of giant factors, a profession in danger of disappearing. Basket makers and moulders, they work with wicker for the structure and molding for the head. Magical and spectacular, the Giants symbolize the soul of a city united in the same jubilation, each one considering the Giants with the tenderness that we devote to our ancestors, the common part of a long history. Childhood games are not far away, a form of freedom during a procession or a carnival. We make faces, we hide, we play at scaring each other. I was born on July 9, Gayant's feast day in Douai in Hauts de France. On my third birthday, I was sick and my grandmother managed to bring the Gayants over to dance in front of her window. Men and giants is a bit of my story.

-Portraits: Fred Beaujeu-Dufour

Fred Beaujeu-Dufour is a French American photographer based out of Clinton, a small town in eastern North Carolina. He specializes in environmental portraiture. Always walking with either his digital or medium format camera, he stops people and asks them if he can take their portraits. This body of work is an example of his work over the last five years.

-November 6 to December 22, 2024

-Transcending Perspectives: Journey in Times, Parsons School of Design, There New School

The artists in this exhibition unveil visions that reside in the realm of the extraordinary. Their works subtly emerge, as if from the periphery of our vision, beckoning insistently for our undivided attention and discerning gaze. Brought into the sharp relief of clarity, these images unfold their once veiled meanings. They reside in a space that is both known and otherworldly, straddling the line between the familiar and the foreign. These photographs dwell in the ambiguous terrain that blurs reality and imagination, consciousness, and dreams, charting a course through the overtly known to the covert, the suppressed, or the intimately dreamt to reveal certain truths. This exhibition was curated from current students, recent alumni and faculty from the MFA Photography Program at Parsons School of Design in New York City.

-Parsons School of Design, The New School  

A pioneer in art and design education for more than a century, Parsons School of Design is one of the most prestigious and comprehensive colleges of art and design in the world. Critical thinking, collaboration, and reflective practice are at the heart of a Parsons education. Located in the heart of New York City, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of design disciplines. A student-centered curriculum allows for both focused and interdisciplinary learning to master concepts, technologies, and research methods that cut across a wide array of fields. By synthesizing theory with craft, and combining art and design studies with the liberal arts and business, Parsons prepares its students to shape scholarship in their field and make art and design that matters. Its faculty of notable artists, design practitioners, critics, historians, writers, and scholars exemplifies an extraordinary breadth of vision.   The graduate Photography program functions as a 21st-century studio and think tank. The goal of the 26-month program is to prepare graduates to define the creative role of photography within contemporary culture, as practicing artists and scholars. Challenging participants to move beyond current paradigms—to anticipate and set trends, rather than follow them. A rigorous critique process and regular meetings with faculty, professional artists, and visiting critics help students develop individual points of view and situate themselves and their work within larger historical, theoretical, and contemporary visual contexts.     The BFA in Photography program offers students the opportunity to create multiple bodies of work. Students are challenged both technically and conceptually as they develop their skills through the exploration of analog and digital technology. The goal is to provide students with the visual, technical, conceptual, and professional vocabulary necessary to succeed in their field. Students sharpen their focus by pursuing a specific concentration, gaining technical mastery and deep knowledge of their area of interest. Concentrations include Fashion, Fine Art, Social Documentary, Commercial/Editorial and Photographic Technologies.

-Marko Risovic: Last Day of School

Last day of school is a narrative dealing with the issue of depopulation in the Balkans, structured through insight into intimate spaces of young people growing up in this region.  The identification of a problem of such a magnitude starts in abandoned and dilapidated schools, where there are still traces of life struggling to survive with persistence and firmness of a flower on a rock, but also with its vulnerability.

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