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Published on March 22nd, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Harvey B. Gantt Center to Host the I SEE YOU – Politics of Being Forum

Charlotte, NC  – Beginning Friday, March 28, 2014, HarveyB.GanttCenter for African-American Arts + Culture will host the I SEE YOU: The Politics of Being Forum. This two day forum will bring exhibition’s curators, visual artists and local scholars together to discuss contemporary visual art and the experience of women in the African Diaspora. Over the course of two days, attendees will meet and speak with exhibiting artists Michaela Pilar Brown, Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz, Endia Beal and Alexandria Smith; participate in performance pieces by Brown and Ortiz; explore the I See You: The Politics of Beingexhibition; and share in facilitated conversations led by scholars from UNCC and Davidson College.

The I See You: The Politics of Being Forum provides a critical opportunity for educators, artists, students, and community members to come together to have a creative conversation around the history and culture of the African Diaspora,” said Jonell Logan, Gantt Center Director of Education and Public Programs.

Tickets for this event can be purchased at or at the Guest Services Desk at the center. (Tickets are $15 for non-members and $10 for members and students).

Schedule of events includes:

Schedule of Events:

Friday, March 28, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

6:00 pm      Registration and Welcome

6:30 pm      Performance and Discussion: bittersalt bittersweet; Michaela Pilar Brown

Michaela Pilar Brown will present this performance piece that embraces a larger tradition of performance art in contemporary American art. Presenting her own nude and bound body, behind a hawker and circus tent, Brown invites the audience to provide a drink, cut her binds or speak to her in this space. Challenging notions of the marginalization and fetishisation of the black female body, the piece brings P.T. Barnum’s commodification and exploitation of Joice Heth, as well as the historical objectification of the Hottentot Venus into question. The performance also challenges current perceptions of black femininity, identity and power.  Following the performance, Brown will discuss the performance with the audience, Jonell Logan, Gantt Center Director of Education and Public Programs and Paula Connolly, Associate Professor of English, UNCC.

8:00 pm     Reception

Saturday, March 29, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

9:00 am    Light Breakfast

9:00 am   Performance and Discussion PorcelaReina: Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz

“In A Delicate Condition” is the phrase artist Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz is reminded of often as her pregnancy progresses. As a woman that isn’t used to being treated delicately, she is interested in the idea of precious items, protection and near   immobilization. In line with the GuerrileReina photo suite currently on display at the Gantt Center, Raimundi-Ortiz will create a new Queen piece, one in which she allows the viewer to witness the creation of the porcelain queen, with emphasis on the time consuming nature of packing something delicate in nature, sometimes to that object’s very detriment.

10:00 am   Alexandria Smith: Amalgamations of Girlhood

Artist Alexandria Smith will lead a conversation about her current work and provide an inside look at her upcoming projects.

11:00 am   Endia Beal: On My Way to Work – Artist Talk and Conversation with Terri Moore, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist

Artist Endia Beal discuss her current work and talk about race, culture and the corporate workplace.

12:15 pm  Panel Discussion – Alexandria Smith, Michaela Pilar Brown, Wanda Ortiz, Edia Beal: On Being an Artist
                    Moderated by Samantha Noel, Professor of Africana Studies, Davidson College


Endia Beal

Endia Beal is a North Carolina-based artist celebrated for her photographic imagery and video installations that give voice to the marginalized or unseen — those who are often deemed powerless because of gender, race, socioeconomic status, or sexuality.

Beal earned a dual BA, in Studio Art with a Concentration in Photography and Art History, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her MFA in Photography from YaleUniversity.  Beal’s work has been exhibited at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute in NYC, and the MiltonRhodesCenter for the Arts in Winston–Salem, NC.

Michaela Pilar Brown

Creating provocative installations and performances inspired by history, childhood memories and African-American cultural icons, Michaela Pilar Brown documents staged events through dreamlike film and photography — often using herself, family and friends as the models. She explores the body through the prisms of age, gender, race, sexuality and history considering memory, myth, ritual, desire and the spaces the body occupies within these vignettes.

Brown was born in Bangor, Maine and raised in Denver, Colorado.  She studied sculpture and art history at HowardUniversity and was the Fall 2011 GanttCenter Artist-in-Residence at McCollCenter.  Brown has exhibited in galleries throughout North and South Carolina and in Washington, DC.

Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz,

Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist whose work spans video, performance art, installation, painting and spoken word. Beginning with personal experiences, Raimundi-Ortiz set out to dissect aspects of her Latina heritage from varying points of entry which ultimately led to larger studies on otherness as a whole in American culture.

Raimundi-Ortiz earned an MFA at RutgersUniversity and is a Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture alumnae. She has exhibited internationally at events and galleries including Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival in Chicago; GyeongnamArt Museum in South Korea; Manifesta 8 in Murcia, Spain; and Trampolim in Brazil and is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at University of CentralFlorida. 

Alexandria Smith

Interweaving memory, autobiography and history, Alexandria Smith creates a fictional, coming of age narrative that stirs up complicated notions of identity, gender, sexuality and the psychology of self-discovery with children — more specifically, adolescent girls — as the primary focus of her work.

Smith received her BFA in Illustration from SyracuseUniversity; an MA in Art Education from New YorkUniversity; and an MFA in Painting and Drawing at Parsons The New School for Design.  She has participated in exhibitions throughout New York City, at Mikhail Zakin Gallery in Demarest, NJ and in the controversial exhibit, “The Gentrification of Brooklyn: The Pink Elephant Speaks” at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art in Brooklyn.  Smith’s work is widely collected both locally and internationally. 


Founded in 1974, Charlotte’s Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture (formerly the Afro-American Cultural Center) exists to present, preserve and celebrate the art, history and culture of African-Americans and those of African descent through dance, music, visual and literary arts, film, educational programs, theatre productions and community outreach. Named for Harvey B. Gantt, the prominent Charlotte architect and community leader and former Mayor of Charlotte, the Center is housed in an inspired and distinguished award-winning structure and is home to the nationally celebrated John and Vivian Hewitt Collection of African-American art, which was generously donated by Bank of America.  Please follow @hbganttcenter and



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