about the salon
With the title of this virtual salon, I wanted to call forth multiple meanings of the hallway. First…. I imagine walking into the hallways of my great aunt or my great grandfather’s house. Photographs and momentos, some framed and some tacked to the wall, rise up the lengths of the hallway. It is a shrine, a private monument to the people and places that make up our interior lives. This virtual salon is in honor of those hallways. An interior space made up of the burgeoning stories, desires and dreams of Southern and Caribbean artists. Second, I am referencing the hallway that is the vestibule, the passageway that connects our past, present and future. The in-between space that keeps our secrets safe. The hallways that lines the edges of this house we call America, but for us, is it the center. Here, in the hallway, we Southern artists gather with our work and our stories. We gather to witness one another and soak up each other’s dreams and desires. These walls are shaped by generational stories of migration, spirituality, family, self-making, and a relationship to place. Through a historical, cultural and migratory lens, this exhibition is also opening a space to name and explore the US South and the Caribbean as extensions of one another.
Please join us in exploring all the meanings of “the hallway” and being In the hallway with this virtual exhibition.
-Ambrose, artist & curator
Most artists in this salon were personally invited to submit by the curator, Ambrose, as well as artists who were selected from the open call. This exhibition is a part of Alternate ROOTS 2020 virtual programming from September 18 to October 4. Register for free here. This website will remain active for one year.
Excerpts from Saidiya Hartman's
Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval
"They didn’t know that the hallway and the stairwell were places of assembly, a clearing inside the tenement, or that you love in doorways. There is no photograph of the hallway...Even in the daytime, the shadows are too dark and too deep to capture it. The hallway provides the refuge for the first tongue kiss, the place for hanging out with your friends, the conduit for gossip and intrigue. Here you first learn about the world and the role to which you have been consigned, so you scribble fuck or wretched on the wall in the stairwell...The hallway is a space uneasy with expectation and tense with the force of unmet desire. It is the liminal zone between the inside and the outside for the one who stays in the ghetto; the reformer documenting the habitat of the poor passes through without noticing it, failing to see what can be created in cramped space, if not an overture, a desecration, or to regard our beautiful flaws and terrible ornaments."
“In the hallway, you wonder will the world always be as narrow as this, two walls threatening to squeeze and crush you into nothingness. So you imagine other worlds, sometimes not even better, but at least different from this. You and your friends hatch plots of escape and dereliction. This black interior is a space for thought and action, for study and vandalism, for love and trouble. The hallway is the parlor for those who manage to live in cramped dark rooms with not enough air and who see the sunlight only when they step out onto the front stoop.”
note from the curator
After playing different roles and being in relationship with Alternate ROOTS in a myriad of ways over the past 6 years, my friend and collaborator, indee mitchell, invited me to curate the visual arts program for ROOTS first virtual gathering this year. I wanted to invite my artist friends and artists I admire to submit, as well as put the call out for folks beyond my network. It's been an exciting opportunity to create a space centered on Southern artists and the stories we want to tell. I really want to have more conversations about the long history and relationship that connect the US South and the Caribbean. Both the South and the Caribbean has so much to offer, but often black, brown, indigenous and queer folk in our regions don't have the same access to resources, opportunities, and exposure. This exhibition is only the beginning of my dreams to build spaces and opportunities for Southern artists, cultural workers and visionaries to showcase their work, tell their stories and hone their craft. I created this entire website just for this exhibition, so I hope y'all enjoy and return to engage with the virtual salon more than once.
Ambrose is an emerging artist from Western North Carolina with roots in Florida. She is a self-taught painter and seamstress who received her BA in African-American Studies from Yale College in 2018, concentrating in arts & culture. She has extensive experience as a teaching artist working with youth and in-community. Her experience in liberation movement and social justice spaces across the South continues to inform her praxis as a Black, queer, southern artist who strives to create work that heals, transforms and makes tangible impact for Black and Indigenous people and communities. She recently completed a year-long residency at the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production in Utica, MS as their inaugural Artist-In-Residence. Ambrose has received numerous grants and awards for her work, including Presidential Scholar in the Arts, Gordon Grand and Cohen Public Service Fellowships, SpiritHouse Inc. Sankofa Cultural Alchemist Award, and most recently, Alternate ROOTS Project Development Grant. Ambrose currently resides in Baltimore, MD.