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Sat, Dec 09


The Bottom


Join us 12/9 for an exhibition reception with Karena "Kidd" Graves, their works will be on display from Dec 1-31!

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Time & Location

Dec 09, 2023, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

The Bottom, 2340 E Magnolia Ave, Knoxville, TN 37917, USA

About the Event

Karena “Kidd” Graves is a multidisciplinary artist from North Carolina. They received their MFA in Sculpture at East Carolina University. Graves’s interest and research focuses on African-American dream symbolism, folklore, and storytelling. Their art practice consists of creating sculptural assemblages, weavings, mixed media textiles, and public art. Currently, they are an Artist-in-Residence at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Show Statement:

Omens is an exhibition that tells the shared stories about Fish Dreams and Bird symbolism within Black Folklore. The aim for this research and creative activity is to document orally shared stories in Black communities. In my family, when women dream of fish, it symbolizes that a family member or close friend is pregnant.  When one of us has this dream we call each other or text our family group chat to figure out who is pregnant. 

The weavings and sculpture assemblages are based on my personal experience with fish dreams and interviews with the matriarchs of my family who have experienced fish dreams: Sirena Manuel (mother), Elecia Satterfield (aunt), and Bernice Graves (grandmother). Black folklore surrounding the omens and symbolism of birds speaks of death, the devil, and the passages between the spiritual world to the living. Owls are seen as an omen of death nearby.

When Owls would hoot at night, it was seen as a sign of death in the household or death was on its way to someone close by.  The blue heron and the blue jay are known to do jobs for the Devil. The blue heron, known as the Devil's doctor, has knowledge of herbs and

their medicinal uses to treat the Devil. The tapestries in this exhibition explore the stories of these birds and some of the remedies that Black people would do to ward off the dark or evil energy. 

Creating this series of artworks allows me to bring my voice as a Queer Black woman into the conversation of dream and folklore research, which at times is not only dominated by a non-Black perspective but a non-Black perspective occupying space in the discussion of African American culture analysis.

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