Sharita Towne is an multidisciplinary artist and educator based in Portland, OR, born and raised on the west coast of the U.S. along I-5—from Salem, OR, to Tacoma, WA and down to Sacramento, CA, a true granddaughter of the great migration. She is most interested in engaging local and global Black geographies, histories, and possibilities. Towne holds a BA from UC Berkeley in Interdisciplinary Studies & Art, an MFA from Portland State University in Contemporary Art Practices.
The form in Towne’s work shifts–from murals, printmaking, video, site-specific projection, installation, textile, stereo-photography, sculpture, public intervention, bookmaking, translation, community conversation, institutional critique, and over 20 years, the spaces vary–museums, neighborhoods, refugee camps, concentration camp memorials, historic plazas, galleries, schools, community centers, and family backyards–but the values of family and survival in the work persist. In her work, a shared art penetrates and binds people–artists, audiences, organizers, civic structures, sisters, cousins, and landscape–in collective catharsis, grief, and joy.
Her work has received support from Creative Capital, the Fulbright Association, Art Matters, The Ford Family Foundation, and the Oregon Community Foundation, among others. In 2020 she was interviewed in the New York Times about her ongoing work on A Black Art Ecology of Portland, a cross-sector project that considers the city as form.
She is also known as “Mariah Carrie Mae Weems,” one-fourth of the post-colonial conceptual karaoke band Weird Allan Kaprow.
Selected artists for the Louisiana Open Call for Exhibitions 2021
Beverly Kimble Davis
What a time to make art. To keep making art. To see art, and to resee and experience the world (and this time) through artists and cultural bearers living and working in Louisiana.
Having spent hours sifting through applications, I can say that the folks from (and moving to) this region are researching and creating incredible bodies of work. It was truly a test of endurance (and for me a bit of heartache) to narrow it down.
It is with great excitement that I present the two selected artists for the Louisiana Open Call for Exhibitions 2021– Beverly Kimble Davis and Trinity Thomas.
Beverly Kimble Davis brings the past into the present, and reminds us of what we must continue to grapple with and retell today. Beverly is a New Orleans painter and historian, with a prolific body paintings and writing focused on capturing stories of the man-made catastrophes of Hurricane Katrina. She has worked with her brother Allen Kimble Jr. and Alexandra Longuet, a videographer. It’s grippingly poignant and prolific work.
Trinity Thomas, a young emerging artist working in photography and painting, seems to have never set his camera down since first receiving it at a young age. His body of photography, the people and places he captures, stands out with great promise. Trinity is also beginning to paint his photos, folding in his own index of symbols, imagined and real. The future is with us, breathing, unfolding, in this sweet, refreshing, and impressive body of work.
I look forward to following from over here, the conversations these two artists’ exhibitions conjure in the infinitely expressive and enduringly creative communities of Louisiana.