Changing Course: Reflections on New Orleans Histories, on view at NOMA through Sept. 16, brings together a group of seven contemporary art projects that focus on forgotten or marginalized histories of the city — and it’s all part of the New Orleans tricentennial celebration. Projects by artists Katrina Andry, Willie Birch, Lesley Dill, L. Kasimu Harris, Skylar Fein, The Everyday Projects and The Propeller Group each shed light on defining moments in New Orleans’ history that continue to frame art and life in the city today.
For example, artist Skylar Fein’s installation Remember the Upstairs Lounge (2008) commemorates the 1973 arson at the Upstairs Lounge, a popular gay bar in the French Quarter, while continuing the conversation about ongoing violence against LGBTQ communities. Meanwhile, The Propeller Group’s video The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music (2014) offers a powerful meditation on the cyclical nature of time and history, drawing points of connection between the cultural traditions of New Orleans’ vibrant Vietnamese community and the fantastical funeral traditions and rituals of South Vietnam. The Everyday Projects, a collective of photojournalists, brings their Pulitzer Center-sponsored curriculum to New Orleans with #EverydayNewOrleans — a project that encourages participants to use photography to share their unique perspectives on life in their neighborhoods throughout Greater New Orleans.
Written by Misty Milioto