“I am not what you think I am. You are what you think I am.”
We speak of our common humanity; that what connects us as Americans is greater than what separates us. Important words that few would argue, yet what is the action plan for rediscovering that commonality? In her Artist’s Statement for The Divided States of Americans, Louisville artist Brianna Harlan offers an action plan for the crucial first steps:
“The current, divisive political climate is causing increased self-awareness, especially among millennials who have been called a generation for activism, and marginalized groups. As false stereotypes are used to fulfill harmful political agenda, everyone’s realities are influenced. We are encouraged to draw lines, determine the worth of humanity, and demonize differences. The Divided States of Americans attempts in red, white, and blue—mirroring propaganda posters—to advocate for a different message: get a little closer to one another to see the greatness of diverse identity.”
The Divided States of Americans are an example of social practice art, a series of five posters in red, white, and blue colors, with images that are autobiographical but also reflections for the viewer to witness their own role in unifying the communities in which they live; both a challenge and an invitation. Each Poster has "They Say" statements on the left vs "I am" Statements on the right. All five are currently featured in Looking Up: Heroes For Today – An LVA Exhibit at Metro Hall, which is on exhibit through January 11, 2019 at Louisville’s Metro Hall, 511 West Jefferson Street.
Harlan describes herself as, “a mixed media artist that creates Radically Vulnerable art to invite transformative dialogue. Themes of her work include identity, social/cultural dynamics, intimacy, oppression, and self-suppression. Brianna works primarily with participants, inviting them to share and unpack sensitive topics through questions and actions. The discoveries that come from these mindful investigations shape the concept and inform the work's medium. She creates with people, not just about them, and views the process and resulting work as a tool for a moving experience and constructive conversation.
She was a member of the first group of Hadley Creatives, a 6-month learning and engagement experience for local artists who are at a pivotal point in their careers developed by the Community Foundation of Louisville in partnership with Creative Capital, a New York-based nonprofit that supports innovative and adventurous artists across the country. An exhibit showcasing the work from this group opens June 1 at the Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft in Louisville.
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: BA Studio Art, Hanover College, Hanover, IN
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Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved