Mending Walls RVA

From
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Time Period
16,000 BCE to 1622 CE

A Special Pop-Up Exhibition on display from July 1-September 7, 2020

This pop-up exhibition and community collaboration featured selections from the past VMHC exhibition, Fresh Paint: Murals Inspired By The Story of Virginia, with new reflections from the artists. Also included was a new hub for the Mending Walls RVA Project led by artist Hamilton Glass.

One of the most visible signs of protests and unrest was the graffiti found on monuments, plywood-covered windows, and other public and private property. This inspired Richmond mural artist Hamilton Glass to start the Mending Walls RVA project – assembling a diverse group of artists to create public artwork as a tool to promote empathy and to connect us at a time when it is most needed. History has the same power.

This exhibition featured paintings by artists participating in Mending Walls. Inspired by their motto, “We Need to Talk…,” this artwork, combined with the stories of our past told throughout this museum, offered an opportunity to begin understanding how we arrived at this moment and start conversations about our future.

Artists included in this exhibition include: 

Jowarnise Caston (@jowarnise)

Drawing inspiration from African textile design, contemporary fashions, and urban culture, Caston explores the human condition related to race, social class, and culture through art. Best known for her naturalistic portraits of women in eloquent poses, she often focuses on the female African American experience. Her work has been exhibited at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, the Meredith Gallery (Virginia State University), and at the Medical College of Virginia.

Nico Cathcart (@nicocathcart)

A painter and muralist from Toronto, Ontario currently living in Richmond, Cathcart strives to discuss Intersectional Feminism and Conservation in her highly colorful works that often feature local flora and fauna, as well as the female form. Cathcart is a veteran of many Richmond street art festivals and her work appears in cities across the Unites States and has been shown in many galleries and museums including the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, MASS MOCA, and La Bodega Gallery (San Diego). 

Hamilton Glass (@hamglass)

Despite working in the architecture field for seven years, his passion for public art pushed Glass to start a career as an artist. His work is usually distinguished by the use of architectural elements with bright vivid colors and sharp lines. 

Glass’s work focuses around using public art to build up communities and create spaces in which the community members feel they have a stake in their surroundings. He believes in the power of art, which can hold communities together, and increase equity around access to the arts.

Ian Hess (@ian.c.hess)

In his work, Hess explores the beauty of brokenness expressed through the shattered, graceful, and failed myths of yesterday. Applying the Japanese philosophies of Wabi Sabi—acceptance of transience and imperfection—and Kintsugi which treats breakage as beauty—he reinvents aspects of these categories into forms adorned by the textures and expressions of our time. As the Creative Director of Endeavor Studios—a 5-year running Studio Art Gallery run by artists for artists—Hess seeks to unite a broader community within Richmond.

Austin Miles (@auz_can)

Originally from Durham, North Carolina, Miles grew up inspired by Ernie Barnes’s distorted figures and the stories his paintings told about African American culture. Her work has been shown in Richmond; Atlanta; Washington, D.C., and Cusco, Peru. Miles was the recipient of the Amendment Art and Literary Journal Art Award for her painting Enough. Introduced to mural painting in 2017, she realized the positive impact that murals can provide for a community while collaborating on Richmond’s first mural created by and specifically for black girls.

Noah Scalin (@noahscalin)

Scalin is the creator of the Webby Award—winning project Skull-A-Day and the collaborative science fiction universe and performance art project League of Space Pirates. He was the inaugural artist-in-residence at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business, and his fine art has been exhibited internationally with installations in Times Square and the Mutter Museum (Philadelphia). Scalin’s work was recently featured in an Old Navy television commercial. He is the author of six books, and a sought-after public speaker on creativity.

 

Learn more about the exhibition in this video:

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Mending Walls - A Time To Rise handlettered label text
Title for a collaborative mural by Nico Cathcart and Austin Miles
The artists painting the title directly on the gallery wall at the VMHC. Their collaboration is an embodiment of unity and positivity in the midst of this time of pain and reflection. A Time To Rise was commissioned by The Richmond Night Market.
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A Time to Rise by Nico Cathcart and Austin Miles
A Time to Rise by Nico Cathcart and Austin Miles, 2020
“A Time to Rise” is a reminder of how far we have come, but also how much further we must go. It is about reclaiming what once held us down, while uplifting, empowering, and guiding our city/country towards peace. Commissioned by The Richmond Night Market.
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A detail of the mural A Time to Rise by Nico Cathcart and Austin Miles
A detail of the mural A Time to Rise by Nico Cathcart and Austin Miles
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The artist Hamilton Glass's reflection about his mural, Bound
The artist Hamilton Glass's reflection about his mural, Bound
When I created this piece I sought to speak about the suffering of black Union soldiers not only against the Confederacy, but also the harsh treatment that came from their own white union allies.
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Bound by Hamilton Glass
Bound by Hamilton Glass, 2018
Black union soldiers were fighting for their freedom, but they still in victory were never truly free. My hope is my work reflects the tough position of these black union soldiers, fighting in a war in which neither side considered them as equal.
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A detail of the mural Bound by Hamilton Glass
A detail of the mural Bound by Hamilton Glass
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A detail of the mural Bound by Hamilton Glass
A detail of the mural Bound by Hamilton Glass
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The artist Noah Scalin's reflection about his mural, The Readjusters
The artist Noah Scalin's reflection about his mural, The Readjusters
The Readjusters is a story about how even during our darkest times there have always been people who have risen up, spoken out and worked tirelessly to make sure that this country truly lived up to the values it proclaims.
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The Readjusters by Noah Scalin
The Readjusters by Noah Scalin, 2018
It’s the story of educator and social reformer Janie Porter Barrett, who created a school in Hampton, Virginia, to help incarcerated black girls escape the prison system. It’s the story of the men, organized by pioneering social justice lawyer Samuel W. Tucker, who in 1939 at the Alexandria Public Library were part of one of the first civil rights sit-ins. It’s the story of the interracial Readjuster Party that seized political power in Virginia during the turbulent Reconstruction era and made education for African Americans a priority. It’s a story of the “readjusters” who exist today who are fighting to tell a new story about our priorities as a state and a nation.
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A detail of the mural The Readjusters by Noah Scalin
A detail of the mural The Readjusters by Noah Scalin
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The artists Jowarnise Caston and Ian Hess reflect on their mural, Spirit of Sankofa
The artists Jowarnise Caston and Ian Hess reflect on their mural, Spirit of Sankofa
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Spirit of Sankofa by Jowarnise Caston and Ian Hess
Spirit of Sankofa by Jowarnise Caston and Ian Hess, 2020
Inspired by recent protests against social injustices, Ian and Jowarnise explore the stigma surrounding mental health in today’s society. This collaboration calls for us all to tend to mental health and meet those in need of care with compassion instead of indifference or violence. In the spirit of the Akan symbol of Sankofa, we recognize the importance oflooking to the past to make positive progress.
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A detail of the mural Spirit of Sankofa by Jowarnise Caston and Ian Hess
A detail of the mural Spirit of Sankofa by Jowarnise Caston and Ian Hess
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A detail of the mural Spirit of Sankofa by Jowarnise Caston and Ian Hess
A detail of the mural Spirit of Sankofa by Jowarnise Caston and Ian Hess
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A detail of the mural Spirit of Sankofa by Jowarnise Caston and Ian Hess
A detail of the mural Spirit of Sankofa by Jowarnise Caston and Ian Hess
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One of the stencils from the Mending Walls RVA project
One of the stencils from the Mending Walls RVA project, 2020
With the permission of local business owners, artists participating in Mending Walls RVA painted their motto on plywood-covered windows throughout downtown Richmond to commemorate Juneteenth. Stencil designed by Noah Scalin.
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The interactive community wall in the Mending Walls RVA exhibition
The interactive community wall in the Mending Walls RVA exhibition
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A detail from the interactive community wall in the Mending Walls RVA exhibition
A detail from the interactive community wall in the Mending Walls RVA exhibition
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A detail from the interactive community wall in the Mending Walls RVA exhibition
A detail from the interactive community wall in the Mending Walls RVA exhibition