Quinn Hunter Joins Wayne as Artist-in-Residence
The James Pearson Duffy Department of Art and Art History is proud to welcome Quinn Hunter as our 2020-21 Artist-in-Residence. Hunter uses sculpture and performance to discuss race, gender, and place with an emphasis on historical geography. She completed her undergraduate degree at University of North Carolina - Greensboro and her MA in Sculpture and Expanded Practice and MFA in Media Design at Ohio University. While at WSU, she will teach primarily in the foundations area and will create a new body of work that will be exhibited in 2021. Hunter is the Art Department’s first Artist-in-Residence, a position that was created to bring to Detroit an artist focused on issues of social justice.
WORK AND PRACTICE
A key theme in Hunter's work is Black women laborers and bringing that history forward through her own labor as an artist. Historic sites and landscapes are key subject matter, using her art to “re-inscribe” the Black history and identity that has been lost or erased from those places. For example, Hunter used hair extensions to recreate a replica of a chandelier at the Nottoway Plantation in Louisiana, where Blacks were once born into servitude and died in servitude, and which operates today as a wedding destination venue. Referencing this work and others, she said, “I use my voice to amplify those lost voices.”
ON BEING IN DETROIT AND BLACK LIVES MATTER
Hunter is excited about working in Detroit and connecting with the local history. Bringing her passion for libraries, old books, and microfilm, she plans to do some deep research. She will be looking at old, forgotten news articles to shed new light on historic spaces that have come unremembered or unnoticed. She said, “I want to find something that people have completely forgotten about but that is part of the foundation of the city. We are standing on that history. I love microfilm because that is where you find things that have gotten lost. Something is in the headlines for a few weeks 50 years ago and that something might have meaning for today.”
This is especially true for the ways that news is being delivered today, and how that relates to the Black experience and the Black Lives Matter movement. “When the George Floyd protests started happening it really took me aback,” she said. "I felt like everyone I knew was emailing me in solidarity. So many people are now talking about plantations and I am happy about that but I have been trying to have this conversation for a long time. How can you put 400 years of history into 280 characters? You can’t really have these deep conversations about the work that needs to be done because we are relying on social media.”
ON TEACHING AT WSU
Hunter is looking forward to working with her students on a project and learning about Detroit from their perspectives and experiences. “My students will be educating me about Detroit. I feel that this an act of collaboration that is waiting to happen,” she said. She sees her role as a teacher as a collaborative act as well. “My role as a teacher is to give information and help students find their voice within that information,” she said. “I also need to give space to have the conversation. Being in the middle of COVID-19 and BLM right now, I want to bring a sense of normalcy. I also want to make a space for uncomfortable conversations to happen and for them to take that experience and grow with it.”
Read more about Quinn Hunter and see her work at www.quinnahunter.com.