Dontre Major’s first solo exhibition, “Black America: Resilient,” opens at Redux this Fri. Dec. 6

"The history is so evident here."


Growing up, Dontre Major’s grandmother made a point of introducing her grandkids to important times and places in history. She took Major to Alabama, to the spot where Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot. “She wanted us to know our history,” he says.

Major, too, wants us to remember and reflect on our shared history, and he’s doing just that with a new exhibition, Black America: Resilient, opening at Redux this Fri. Dec. 6, 5-8 p.m.

It’s Major’s first solo exhibition, following a successful year in which he earned best in show during the Halsey’s Young Contemporaries exhibit. Major’s Halsey show, Black AmeriKKKA, explored black history from enslavement to the present day. Black America: Resilient expands on and continues that conversation. [content-1]
“You have to be reminded of the past,” says Major. “Especially with the way things are going now with politics, even to remember past presidents.” Major urges that we reflect on our historic mistakes so that we don’t repeat them.

Major creates some of his images using various photographic developing methods, from Van Dyke Brown (a printing process) to liquid emulsion. “I try to give them their own identity,” he says. “Each one makes you feel a different way.”

While he points to the Civil Rights movement as a particular focus, he acknowledges that his pieces, regardless of what they’re depicting, each have their own level of significance. “Each is its own step toward progress,” he says.

An Oklahoma native, Major says that moving to Charleston five years ago really resonated with him. “Charleston is where slaves were actually brought. It hit a little harder with me,” he says. “The history is so evident here.”

He talks about an exhibition he did earlier this year, Prints in Clay, which was sponsored by the Slave Dwelling Project, the Historic Charleston Foundation, and the Gaillard Center. The project documents fingerprints left by enslaved men and women in bricks around historic Charleston.

“Seeing people’s fingerprints — when you realize that and take that in — there’s something a little dramatic about that,” says Major.

Black America: Resilient will be on display through Jan. 25, 2020. That gives you enough time to visit it at least once, maybe several times. Spend time with the images and see how they make you feel.

As Major says, “Come in prepared and ready to be moved.”

Support the Charleston City Paper

We’ve been covering Charleston since 1997 and plan to be here with the latest and Best of Charleston for many years to come. In a time where local journalism is struggling, the City Paper is investing in the future of Charleston as a place where diverse, engaging views can flourish. We can't do it without our readers. If you'd like to support local, independent journalism:

UP NEXT FROM

FEATURE

Gaillard Center’s 2020-2021 season features Broadway musicals, chamber orchestras, and an iconic dance company

Connelly Hardaway

While so much of the world has seemed to come to a standstill, area arts organizations and venues continue to plan for their upcoming seasons — offering a shimmer of hope at the end of this coronavirus tunnel. The Gaillard Center promises “10 sensational performances” during this upcoming season, including two Lowcountry Broadway premieres.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Gaillard Center’s 2020-2021 season features Broadway musicals, chamber orchestras, and an iconic dance company

While so much of the world has seemed to come to a standstill, area arts organizations and venues continue to plan for their upcoming seasons — offering a shimmer of hope at the end of this coronavirus tunnel. The Gaillard Center promises “10 sensational performances” during this upcoming season, including two Lowcountry Broadway premieres.

Brookgreen Gardens opens new outdoor exhibit, “Southern Light,” on May 15

Murrell’s Inlet’s Brookgreen Gardens is currently open, 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. And, after its original opening date was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bruce Munro’s massive outdoor light installation, Southern Light, will open to the public on Fri. May 15.

Sam Reynolds

Sam Reynolds, a Lowcountry folk songwriter who now resides in Vermont, released a collection of soft, subtle, and stirring piano instrumentals on May 1 titled Broken Tulips.

Charleston Wine + Food Festival says 2020 event had $19.9 million local economic impact

A survey by the College of Charleston reports that 54% of the 28,000 Charleston Wine + Food attendees were local.