‘Welcome Home’ exhibit focuses on experience of Asian female artists in Appalachia

Published 4:43 pm Monday, February 15, 2021

JOHNSON CITY — “Welcome Home: The Liminal Asian-Appalachian Experience,” an exhibit curated by José Ardivilla and Kreneshia Whiteside, is currently on display in two East Tennessee State University venues.
“Welcome Home” is a “creative exploration into the geographic, emotional and psychological journey of Asian female artists adapting to the liminal realm of the Appalachian life,” according to Whiteside. It “honors the overlooked voices of our Asian female counterparts in regard to their perspectives of our nation and their complicated settlement into the shifting slopes of Appalachia.”
Ardivilla clarifies his concept of “home” as meaning “to subject oneself to many doors, and portals to pass through, to take pause, and to situate oneself between taking stock of the present and gauging the future paths while careful not to lose the present.”
Different concepts of home are depicted in the various gallery spaces of the exhibit. The artists’ works, according to the curators, are “allocated in different galleries to situate the complex navigation one has to go through in an insistence of home.”
On display through Feb. 25 on the main ETSU campus in Slocumb Galleries, located on the first floor of Ball Hall, are works dealing with subthemes of identity and politics, as well as works that offer glimpses of issues associated with migration.
Works pertaining to the subtheme of “contact and confrontation,” dealing with transit, arrival and obstacles, are on display through March 19 at Tipton Gallery, 126 Spring Street in downtown Johnson City.
In conjunction with the exhibit, a “Panel on Women: Asia, Art & Home,” moderated by Ardivilla, will be presented on Wednesday, March 3, at 6 p.m. via Zoom (meeting ID 710 908 4999). It will also be simulcast on Slocumb Galleries’ Facebook page (facebook.com/slocumb.galleries).
Participating artists are Beizar Aradini, Leticia Bajuyo, Miyuki Akai Cook, Sonya Yong James, Meena Khalili, Marta Lee, Vy Ngo, Elena Øhlander, Sisavanh Phouthavong and Halide Salam.
“Welcome Home” is presented by the ETSU Department of Art and Design and the Slocumb Galleries Curatorial Fellowship in partnership with a number of entities, including the Student Activities Allocation Committee, Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program, Mary V. Jordan Multicultural Center, Language and Culture Resource Center, Africana Studies, Women’s Studies and Department of Appalachian Studies at ETSU, along with the Langston Centre and the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Arts Project Support and Arts Build Communities grants.
Regular hours at Slocumb Galleries are weekdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tipton Gallery is open Thursdays and Fridays from 5-7 p.m. and by appointment. Visitors to both venues are required to wear a face covering and observe social distancing guidelines.
For more information, visit https://www.etsu.edu/cas/art/galleries/ or contact Slocumb Galleries Director Karlota Contreras-Koterbay at contrera@etsu.edu or 423-439-4291.

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