Of Soil and Sky is a collection of passed-down memories that share the wandering reflections of my existence as a Diaspora child on unceded Indigenous and AfroCarolina land. Housed in the depths of 21c Museum Hotel Durham and NC Mutual Life Insurance’s Provident1898, these vibrant depictions of ancestors, friends, and mentors become intertwined with the buildings’ cultural foundations and that of the larger landscape of what we call North Carolina. Part mythology for this moment and part ecological guide, the mixed-media offerings honor the powerful entities and energies that have repeatedly created sanctuary for my people and me, not only throughout time, but into futurity.
This exhibition is co-organized and presented by 21c Museum Hotel Durham, The Understudy, Provident1898, and Mavis Gragg.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Claire Alexandre is a Diaspora child, Abolitionist feminist storyteller, and student of ecologies who weaves autobiographical reflections with ancestral wisdom. She elaborates detailed portraits reflecting personal narratives existing at the intersection of environmental, gender, and racial justice. From the studio to the street, canvas to concrete, Claire uses a wide variety of surfaces to reclaim space for the voices of her people—particularly Black, queer, womxn identifying folks—to be witnessed and celebrated in all their complexities and colors. Her work is an invitation to deepen our collective understanding of community prosperity and its close ties with sustainable land stewardship. Since she began painting in 2018, she has created murals in Colombia, Morocco, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Scotland, and the U.S. Claire has completed residencies in Brazil and the U.S. In 2019 she was an invited speaker to the opening of the Beyond Despair: Environmental Humanities in Theory and Practice art exhibition in Durham, NC. Her first solo show, titled From the Between; Stories on Bringing Back and Beyond, was on display in December 2020 at the Durham Art Guild at Golden Belt Campus in Durham.
ABOUT PROVIDENT 1898
Provident1898 is a contemporary, multi-industry coworking community designed by and for a diverse community of entrepreneurs, innovators, and artists who are passionate about building a more progressive and equitable workplace. Located on the historic grounds of NC Mutual Life Insurance and inspired by Durham’s legacy of Black business success, Provident1898 is invested in supporting Black-owned and led enterprises.
The Understudy, powered by Provident1898, is an artist-led and centered initiative that connects Black artists in the south to material, intellectual, and wellness resources. The Understudy aims to support Black artists developing new work, particularly those advancing experimental forms and practices.
Image credit: Samantha Everette Photography