‘Typical American Families’ photo exhibit to be unveiled at Emory

Posted in Articles, Arts, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-05-12 16:55Z by Steven

‘Typical American Families’ photo exhibit to be unveiled at Emory

Emory News Center
Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

Kimber Williams

“Typical American Families” highlights the many configurations that family life can take in America. Photos in the exhibit will be unveiled at a public reception at the Center for Ethics on May 7. Photo by Ross Oscar Knight.

“Typical American Families,” a new photographic exhibit that explores a wider view of American families, will be unveiled Thursday, May 7, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Emory Center for Ethics, 1531 Dickey Drive.

Conceived by Carlton Mackey, director of Emory’s Ethics and the Arts Program, the exhibit offers a photographic glimpse into the lives of 15 Atlanta-area families, celebrating “the vast landscape of manifestations of family” across spectrums of culture, faith and ability, Mackey says.

The event includes a public reception and formal unveiling of the exhibit. Guests will also have a chance to meet families that participated in the community project, which showcases the diversity of the American family through the lens of international photographer/photoculturalist Ross Oscar Knight, Mackey’s creative partner.

The families — who haven’t yet seen their photographs — will share stories and insights into how they bridge faith, culture and difference in Atlanta, Mackey says…

…”Typical American Families” was inspired by Mackey’s ongoing work on “Beautiful in Every Shade,” an empowerment campaign that celebrates the breadth and depth of beauty in every human being.

That campaign grew out of  “50 Shades of Black,” a multi-media art project launched by Mackey in 2013 — and funded in part by a grant from Emory’s Center for Creativity & Arts — that explores the intersection of skin tone and sexuality in the shaping of identity through images and personal narrative…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Carlton Mackey: Conversations beyond color

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2013-11-26 22:16Z by Steven

Carlton Mackey: Conversations beyond color

Emory Profile
Emory News Center

Kimber Williams

As director of Emory’s Ethics and the Arts program — and a lifelong photographer and filmmaker — Carlton Mackey is used to exploring the questions that intrigue him through an artist’s lens. 

So as he prepared to become a father for the first time, questions of skin tone and identity, beauty and culture came to captivate him as never before: Will this child identify as biracial? Will he identify as black? What is blackness? What does skin tone mean in the search for identity?

His response was to embark upon a deeply personal exploration of the topic, which has resulted in “50 Shades of Black” (self-published, 2013), a multi-disciplinary art project funded, in part, by a grant from Emory’s Center for Creativity & Arts, that investigates the intersection of skin tone and sexuality in shaping identity through both a book, a website and traveling art exhibit…

Emory Report caught up with Mackey to discuss the evolution of “50 Shades of Black,” which will be the focus of a public exhibition at the Center for Ethics next February. 

Where does your story as an artist begin?

My roots go back to Southern Georgia. I was born in Jesup, Georgia, and raised by a mom (Burnell Mackey) and dad (Carl Mackey) who loved me dearly. When I was 4 years old, my mom passed away after battling cancer. After that, I moved to Blackshear, Georgia, to live with my grandmother, Pearl Taylor — the single most important female figure in my life, outside of my mom, who spent my formative years rearing, shaping and molding me. 

As an adult, I have a new set of eyes for understanding how she influenced me as an artist. But it doesn’t look like painting or drawing or making films. She got as far as the sixth grade and worked hard her entire life — so no, not a lot of art in that sense. But I’ve come to understand some of the key ingredients for being a successful artist are thinking outside the box, being resourceful. Creativity can flourish more when there are limitations than when there is excess, I think. That’s what she showed me day after day. I use that as an artist…

…How did you come up with the idea for the “50 Shades of Black” project?

Before I had my son Isaiah, I’d never dated anyone who didn’t look like me. But I fell in love with my wife (Kari, who is white). When I was going to become a father, I started having these questions: What is this kid going to look like? Is he going to identify with me? Am I going to identify with him? Is he going to be black? What is blackness? 

When I saw him, all that went out the window, didn’t even matter. But the root of those questions are very real and continue to be very real, not only for parents, but for children who look like him, historically, who will go through life with people asking, “What are you? Where are you from?”…

Read the entire interview here.

Tags: , ,