Opening Night: Aimée M. Everett

On Dec. 10, SDCC held an open exhibit featuring artist Aimée M. Everett and her two galleries, Paying Reverence to the Altar of Memories and Seeing Ghosts: Revisited.

In Paying Reverence to the Altar of Memories, Everett is honoring the memories that have been difficult and traumatic to confront and honoring those that keep hope as a constant. It was important to use self portraits taken at different stages in her life and combine the line work and color saturation that runs through her previous work. The work is shown in different memory chambers with no real timeline order, some are separate recollections. This is how the memories present themselves in her mind. Everett is investigating how she process these memories. Does the process of continued recollection remove a strain of truth with each recall? What will she find when she gives space to a memory purposely forgotten? She is also releasing the power some of the memories hold, not to cast them into darkness again, but for acceptance. If needed, forgiving the events that created them. This series is a living portfolio, new pieces are added when the memory deserves attention. She is beginning this journey of processing to offer them and herself Grace.

Her additional gallery, Seeing Ghosts: Revisited, is a blend Everett’s offering of protection to the Black community from the Bartlett Project and to highlight their history.

It is believed that the use of Haint Blue and any type of written word, can be used to ward off evil spirits. Haint Blue is prevalent in New Orleans. It is used on the roofs of porches and front doors. Haint Blue confuses the spirits, making them believe they are near water or the sky. The newspaper forces the evil spirits to read all words before they can do harm. There are stories of people using newspapers as insulation or simply pasted to the walls. Everett saw this a lot growing up and never really understood their purpose. When she was asked to join the Bartlett Project, the word “Ghost Town” was used often. It confused her as she saw a small town that had its own life. Everett researched extensively and only found minor nods historically to the Black community. This struck a chord with her and tied back into her not knowing why we performed certain rituals, cooked certain foods, or much of her cultural history in New Orleans. Black history is mostly an oral tradition. When we leave we take our stories and histories with us. The other sad truth to this is we are mostly erased and forgotten by the majority. The original form of this piece was destroyed due to the carelessness of those entrusted to protect the work. The smaller collage works are still mighty in their protection. They made it through the destruction and still highlight the beauty and perseverance that defines the Black community in Bartlett, Texas. This portfolio is also living as she is currently working with the community to include new families in this collection.

Delicious mac & cheese bites, cookies, and brownies were provided by The Butter Fairy.

The show is on view at the South Dallas Cultural Center, a facility of the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture, until January 29, 2022. The exhibition was free and open to the public. Click here to learn more.