ETSU’s Slocumb Galleries are currently showing the “Black Diaspora: From Africa to Appalachia to Affrilachia, Reclaiming History, Memory and Place” exhibition featuring Black artists from the Appalachian region, including an artist from Johnson City, Tennessee.
The exhibition is mixed media and will showcase various forms of art all centralized around the experience of Black Americans growing up in the Appalachian Mountains.
“I am hoping that people understand that the Black presence in Appalachia is very much a key component of Appalachia,” said Adam Dickson, center supervisor at the Langston Centre.
The exhibition features art from 10 black artists from the southern Appalachian region: Chris Aluka Berry, LaKisha Blount, Jane Buis, Jason Flack, Nikky Finney, Sean Gerard Clark, Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier, Viola Spells, Frank Walker and Sammie Nicely.
The exhibition includes works of poetry, live music and an interactive discussion panel that took place Sept. 3, all with the hopes of promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusiveness within the Appalachian region.
“Blacks and whites have been together for as long as this country has existed,” said Adam Dickson. “And so even in these difficult times we are dealing with, it’s very important to understand that we are stronger together than we are apart.”
The Slocumb Galleries are striving to ensure that visitors to the galleries remain safe in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic with increased safety precautions. All visitors will be required to wear face masks for the duration of their visit, with masks being provided for those who do not have one. The gallery also has newly installed air filters that filter some viruses from the air.
“I wanted to provide an extra layer of protection,” said Karlota Contreras-Koterbay, director of the Slocumb Galleries. “Because if you’re wearing a mask and are there for a long time, you are still breathing the air circulating in the building.”
The “Black Diaspora: From Africa to Appalachia to Affrilachia, Reclaiming History, Memory and Place” will be showing until Sept. 11 at the Tipton Gallery.