Taking a more serious tone, Gaignard does not shy away from the long history that precedes our present. Another collage in the exhibition has an off white wallpaper marked by blue watercolor roses. The wallpaper is the background to a large stencil cut out of the words “White Lies.” Directly beneath the words is an image of a white woman in a white formal evening gown standing on a bed of flowers. Her arms are intertwined in a white shawl in such a way to signal her enjoyment. To the left and to the right of the white women’s image are two large white feminine looking hands with lace lined handkerchiefs. In contrast to these pictures is an image of Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK). In one of his hands are notes for a speech while the other hand waves back at the field of whiteness he spent his lifetime addressing.
Gaignard’s placement of MLK and former President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in her home is a nod to a history she is tired of repeating. Gaignard is much like a child on a road trip seeking reprieve from monotonous terrain. She is frustrated about the repetition of white lies that promise freedom, justice, and democracy for all. American history tells a different story. Rather, it repeats the same historical exclusions with a different technique. Gaignard’s impatience is clear, her question “are we there yet?” is an invitation to join in her frustration at the white lies we are taught to believe.
“A Long Way From Home” is a practice of an artist who understands her form and knows how to use it. In these trying times her persistent question “are we there yet?” tied to a desire for home that is welcome to all speaks to a historical frustration that continues to linger in the present. Her work is an invitation to break the violent repetitions that anti-blackness, poverty, patriarchy, and homophobia beget and rebuild home anew. The exhibition will be on view from August 27 - December 7, 2020 at MCLA Gallery 51 and is curated by Erica Wall.
-Written by Dr. Taryn D. Jordan
A virtual opening reception on the 27th from 5 to 6:30 pm EST. Use this LINK to register for the virtual opening reception. Genevieve will give a tour of the space and discuss how the exhibition was created."