space-ship "Down to Earth" pop-up at the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC), New Orleans
Down to Earth is an exhibition that looks to three women artists – Hannah Chalew, Carla Simone and Allison Beondé – whose visual practices are characterized by their efforts to conceal and reveal.
Working in similar yet separate contexts in New Orleans, Louisiana, the three artists create vibrant works across the mediums of installation, painting, sculpture and photography to address issues of social and environmental justice.
The exhibition takes its name from Bruno Latour’s essay “Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime” that was initially published in the French language and was subsequently translated to English by Catherine Porter in 2018. In his essay, Latour hypothesizes that “the explosion of inequalities and the denial of climate change are one in the same phenomena.”1 In addition, Latour explores the political challenges we face living in a moment defined by environmental and socio-economic crisis.
It is upon contemplation of this thought that the viewer is invited to notice the rich dialogue that exists between each of these artists. Their artworks pose the critical question: “Do we continue to nourish dreams of escaping,” or learn new ways to inhabit the earth?2
1. Latour, B., Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime, Medford, Polity Press, 2018, p. 2
2. Latour, B., Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime, Medford, Polity Press, 2018, p. 4
About the Artists:
Allison Beondé’s images explore spaces and structures that have been normalized into the everyday, and the history embedded within them. She traces through what she notes as invisible geographiesin her work, providing a visualization in the form of “historical meditation”—a way to contemplate the environment around us and to examine and scrutinize its origins more deeply.
Carla Simone is a multidisciplinary artist from New Orleans who is heavily influenced by the culture of her community and the people within it. The tactile materiality of her large-scale canvases create evocations of place, light and dreaming. She aims to bring thought-provoking joy and meaningful discourse to all who view her work.
Hannah Chalew is an artist from New Orleans. Her artwork explores what it means to live in the age of climate change with an uncertain future looming, and specifically what that means for those of us living in Southern Louisiana.
(All events were free and open to the public.)
DJ RQ Away set the scene for our lively opening reception. People filled the space and enjoyed music, conversation, and food and refreshments by Liberty’s Kitchen. space-ship co-founder Joel Campo and space-ship board member Dr. Keith Magee gave some remarks and recognized our space-ship artist fellows along with presenting six local educators: Dr. Kelli Jordan, E’Jaaz Mason, Elizabeth Ostberg, Joseph Jones Jr., Juan Serrano, and Kamisha Gray, with the space-ship Distinguished Educator Award.
Mimosas and Music
The Carl LeBlanc Trio filled the exhibition space with music during our Sunday brunch event. People enjoyed the art, each other, and food by local garden Gloria’s Kitchen. We had special appearances by Wynton Marsalis and Jon Batiste on their way to preforming at Jazz Fest who along with space-ship co-founder Julia Vlock shared some words with the attendees.
Picasso Recycled: A Creative Release Workshop Led by Artist Carla Simone
space-ship fellow Carla Simone facilitated a Creative Release Workshop. Using recycled materials all were invited to create self portraits.
What is a Creative Release Workshop?
What do we do? Provide a fun environment that inspires creativity through a process of art making and various other creative activities.
Why do we do it? To help improve and enhance the emotional well-being of others through self awareness and expression.
How do we do it? Plan, design and facilitate creative activities based on an individuals needs.
For whom do we do it? For individuals or groups of individuals of all ages, levels and roles.
What benefits do we provide? We aspire to enhance ones quality of life by providing the tools to allow the CREATIVE minds to go wild and the emotionally challenged hearts to RELEASE.
Art and Social Justice in the Age of Climate Change
We hosted a panel discussion entitled "Art and Social Justice in the Age of Climate Change" that aligned with the Down to Earth theme and incorporated discussions about environmental justice and art. Panelists included: space-ship fellows, Hannah Chalew and Allison Beondé, Professor Chris Oliver of Tulane, Dr. Beverly Wright the Executive Director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, and Sharon Lavigne the founder of RISE St. James.
Own Your Narrative: A Spoken Word Poetry Event
space-ship headlined Second Thursday's at the Contemporary Arts Center with a space-ship happy hour and a spoken word poetry performance produced by Outspoken NOLA featuring 8 talented poets including May Royal and iCon.