I Am My White Ancestors: Claiming the Legacy of Oppression

presented by: Oregon Coast Council for the Arts (OCCA)

Starts:Friday, February 01, 2019  11:00 AMEnds:Sunday, February 24, 2019  5:00 PM



Newport Visual Arts Center

777 NW Beach Drive
Newport, OR 97365 

Directions: Google Maps and other online mapping programs can have a problem directing you to the VAC. Here are the easiest directions to follow: heading north or south on Hwy. 101, turn west on NW 3rd St. Proceed straight down the hill. At the second stop sign, turn right. One short block later, turn left under Nye Beach archway. Proceed straight to Nye Beach turnaround and parking lot. The VAC is the large blue and gray building off the turnaround. To director offices and upper parking lot: turn west of Hwy. 101 at NW 3rd St. Head down hill. At second stop sign, continue straight 1.5 blocks, with the Sylvia Beach Hotel remaining on your left. The VAC administrative offices can be accessed through the smaller, upper parking lot.

Event Description:

The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts hosts the installation, “I Am My White Ancestors: Claiming the Legacy of Oppression,” by Portland artist Anne Mavor from February 1-24 in the Runyan Gallery at the Newport Visual Arts Center. Mavor’s installation includes 13 life-size photographic self-portraits printed on fabric panels, each accompanied by audio and written narratives from the perspective of each character. A First Friday opening reception will be held on February 1, 5-7pm, with Mavor discussing her work at 5:45pm.

“I Am My White Ancestors” is an installation and public engagement project straddling personal exploration and social activism. The exhibit invites people to approach and understand racism and related oppressions from an historical and personal perspective. The artist claims each ancestor through the physical act of making and wearing period clothes and posing as that persona. The repetition of the artist’s altered face and body through the self-portraits conveys how beliefs and qualities are passed down through the centuries. The life-size portraits also reference the European tradition of commissioning and displaying family portraits. The first person narratives reveal historical events and how those events led to the choice to oppress others.

“Like many artists working on identity I began from the perspective of the victim but in recent years have focused on examining oppressor roles,” Mavor says. “My process involves asking open-ended questions about a given topic. What would it look like if I claimed my white ancestors? How can I be an artist and a mother? How can I connect to home?”
“Using my own life as source material for my work, I have explored sexism, parental oppression, artist oppression, disability oppression, white supremacy, and disconnection from place and home. My media have included performance, installation, book arts, writing, graphic design, and visual art.”

Anne Mavor is an artist and writer based in Portland. Her work combines storytelling, research, performance, visual imagery, and collaboration to illuminate social issues. Originally from Massachusetts, in 1976 Mavor moved to Los Angeles to join the Feminist Studio Workshop at The Woman’s Building. She received a grant from the John Anson Kittredge Fund for her book Strong Hearts, Inspired Minds: 21 Artists who are Mothers tell their Stories, published in 1996 and a writing residency from The Mesa Refuge. Since 2010 paintings from Mavor’s Mounds and Stones series have been exhibited in Oregon, Washington and Massachusetts. The touring installation "I Am My White Ancestors: Claiming the Legacy of Oppression" premiered in 2016 and has been supported by The Puffin Foundation and the Regional Arts & Culture Council. Mavor holds a BA in art from Kirkland College and an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University, LA.

The Runyan Gallery is open Tueday-Sunday, 11am to 5pm.

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