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New garment exhibition – ‘Preserve & Protect’ – reveals our ‘shrouded histories’

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Some of Stephanie Syjuco's work.

(Posted on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021)

Austin Peay State University’s The New Gallery, with support from The Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts and the Department of Art + Design, is pleased to present Preserve & Protect to continue an engaging 2021-22 exhibition season.

Co-curated by Michael Dickins, director of The New Gallery, and Erika Diamond, curator and assistant director of CVA galleries at Chautauqua Institution, this exhibition of conceptual garment work looks at the complex ways in which textiles, particularly garments, tell the stories of the past, present, and future. More than just armor for the body, they relay the resilience of a culture – worn for protection but also as a way to proclaim one’s identity.

“Textiles serve to protect us, to tell our stories, and to display our privilege,” Diamond said. “Through recognizable structures in historical fashion and strategic embellishments, these textiles recontextualize and assert shrouded histories. They affirm the value of lives lost due to persistent ideals of colonialism, bigotry, and unequal power structures. They reveal concurrent histories and ask for better futures.”

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A piece from Winnie van der Rijn's work.

The exhibit includes works from Michael Sylvan Robinson, Paul Rucker, Stephanie Syjuco, Winnie van der Rijn, and Anangookwe Wolf.

Their works “bear witness to and challenge our shared American history,” Diamond said. “They question whose histories have had the privilege of being heard. They ask for a more inclusive authorship of our shared history. Together, they represent an army of truths. Will we take up this call to arms and begin to protect each other, listen to each other’s stories, and share our abundance of resources?”

The exhibit opens on Monday, Nov. 1, and runs through Dec. 10 at The New Gallery, located in the Art + Design building on the campus of Austin Peay.

“Art often challenges our conventions and beliefs, and sometimes viewing works of art can be uncomfortable,” Dickins said. “Works in this exhibition may be triggering to some. It’s important for our visitors to be aware of this prior to entering the exhibition. But we do welcome all to join us in this conversation.”

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Some of Anangookwe Wolf's work.

Several events accompany the exhibition:

Michael Sylvan Robinson
Michael Sylvan Robinson
Paul Rucker
Paul Rucker
Stephanie Syjuco
Stephanie Syjuco
Winnie van der Rijn
Winnie van der Rijn
Anangookwe Wolf
Anangookwe Wolf

This exhibition will be open during the next two Clarksville First Thursday Art Walks from 5-7:30 p.m. on Nov. 4 and Dec. 2.

All events are free and open to the public.

A virtual tour of the exhibition will be available soon at www.apsu.edu/art-design/thenewgallery.

Hours for The New Gallery are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday- Friday, closed on weekends and holidays, and follow the university’s academic calendar.

For more information about this exhibition, which is free and open to the public, contact Dickins at dickinsm@apsu.edu.

About the artists

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