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Visual storyteller and USM artist-in-residence Daniel Minter tells the complex and haunting story of the forced evictions from Malaga Island

Daniel Minter detail

The University of Southern Maine Art Galleries will host the opening reception for Artist-in-Residence Daniel Minter’s exhibition “OTHERED, Displaced from Malaga” on Thursday October 4, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., including a gallery talk (6:15 p.m.) with the artist at the USM Art Gallery, 5 University Way, on the Gorham Campus. The exhibit will be on view through Sunday, December 9 with gallery hours: Wednesday and Thursday, 12:00 Noon to 6:00 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, 12:00 Noon to 4: 00 p.m.; a panel discussion will take place on Thursday, October 18. 

Minter’s exhibition recalls the complex story of Malaga Island, a small island on the coast of Maine that had been a community of mixed-race fishermen and small subsistence farmers. In 1912 the State purchased it, and under orders of the governor, forcibly evicted the community, removing the buildings and even exhuming their cemetery -- erasing their very existence.

Daniel Minter artworkMinter, known for his visual storytelling, recalls this story with paintings, assemblage, and a small house in the gallery filled with historical photographs and archeological artifacts relaying a sense of place, loss, emptiness and wholeness. Minter’s artwork reflects abiding themes of displacement and diaspora; ordinary/extraordinary blackness; spirituality in the Afro-Atlantic world; and the (re)creation of meanings of home.

"I imagine that the people of Malaga Island were able to maintain the sense of an inner home even at a time when every outward representation of home was being taken away. The image of the person standing in the water; the turbulent calm of the body and visage are reminders that in the face of eradication we may disappear but our spirits are not diminished. Our physical home is shallow whereas the depth of our inner home cannot be measured," states Minter.

Thanks to the Warren Memorial Foundation for supporting this artist residency exhibition and catalog featuring essays by the African-American Art scholar Henry Drewall and four interdisciplinary panelists.

“The exhibition catalog with five interdisciplinary essays will help spread enduring awareness and a deeper understanding of both the Malaga tragedy and the unique contextualization of its history within a contemporary art project,” said Carolyn Eyler, USM director of exhibitions and programs.

As a USM Artist-In-Residence, Minter is offering public drop-in hours one afternoon a week (Wednesdays, 12:30 - 4:30 p.m.) in the Academy Building, on the Gorham Campus through the end of his residency on October 23.

Minter artworkRelated events:

Thursday, October 18
Malaga Island Panel Discussion, 10 Bailey Hall, Gorham Campus
4:30 - 6:30 p.m., followed by a reception at the Art Gallery, 7:00 p.m.

The panel will be moderated by USM Artist-in-Residence Daniel Minter with the following speakers discussing their Malaga research and projects:

Myron Beasley, Associate Professor of American Studies, Bates College; Kate McBrien, Director of Public Engagement and Chief Curator, Maine Historical Society; Kate McMahon, Researcher and Exhibition Development Specialist, National Museum of African American History and Culture; Nate Hamilton, USM Associate Professor of Archeology; Rob Sanford, USM Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Policy

Daniel Minter

Minter lived in Chicago and New York before moving to Portland, Maine where he now resides. From his base in Maine, Minter uses his art as a tool for dialogue with his community. He is the co-founder and creative visionary of the Portland Freedom Trail, a system of granite and bronze markers that constitutes a permanent walking trail highlighting the people, places and events associated with the anti-slavery movement in Portland. Minter was selected by The Partners of the Americas, having been chosen for their artist exchange program with Natal, Brazil in 2012. Minter’s additional recognitions include the James Washington Jr. sculptor-in-residence (Seattle, WA) and the Sapelo Island artist-in-residence (Sapelo Island, GA).

Minter’s paintings, carvings, block prints and sculptures have been exhibited both nationally and internationally at galleries and museums including the Portland Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, Bates College, Hammonds House Museum, Northwest African American Art Museum, Museum Jorge Amado and the Meridian International Center.

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