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Artists explore Katrina aftermath in CCU exhibit

August 15, 2011

A new exhibition titled VESTIGES/trinitas, featuring the work of artists from New Orleans, will run from Sept. 1 to Oct. 7 in the Rebecca Randall Bryan Gallery at Coastal Carolina University. The opening reception for the exhibit is from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1.The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

After the Hurricane Katrina floods devastated New Orleans in 2005, many artists were unable to return to the area. This exhibit brings together displaced New Orleans artists with members of their former community in a large-scale, wetlands-inspired wall installation assembled as the result of a call for submissions initiated by Jan Gilbert and Debra Howell of the VESTIGES project of New Orleans.

The artists were asked to submit resealable plastic baggies filled with items that remind them of what was lost as a result of the Katrina disaster. The items represent the artists own vestiges traces of things that they miss.

Michele White, artist member of the VESTIGES project, writes in her exhibition narrative: While interactive exhibitions in which objects can be touched and rearranged may be familiar artistic strategies, their employment by VESTIGES members resonates in New Orleans where the aspects of daily life, home, business, government and archive recently had to be, and in many cases still need to be, remade.

In addition to the wall installation, the exhibit will also feature works by New Orleans artists Frank Aymami, Jan Gilbert, Debra Howell, Krista Jurisich, Brian Nolan and Rontherin Ratliff.

This exhibition is intended to gather participating artists for reflection and discussion with our coastal community in celebration of hope, progress and the importance of our communalities, says Rachel Harris-Beck, exhibitions coordinator for the Bryan Gallery at CCU. We are proud to be involved in a project that will reunite communities, develop new perspectives and explore progress made despite tragedy and despair.

The VESTIGES Project is an ongoing collaborative of New Orleans artists and writers founded in 1984 to explore the distinctive cultural life of the area.

In addition, New Orleans native Jan Gilbert of the VESTIGES Project will present The Ethics of Disaster, a public discussion hosted by CCUs Jackson Center for Ethics and Values about how artists collaborate to produce work even after their community is destroyed and separated by disaster. The event is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sept. 1 in the Edwards Courtyard adjacent to the gallery.

The Rebecca Randall Bryan Gallery is located in the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts at Coastal Carolina University. For more information, contact Rachel Harris-Beck at 843-349-6465 or visit