Tradition Interrupted explores how artists weave contemporary ideas with traditional art and craft to create thought-provoking hybrid images and objects that have caught the world’s attention. The 12 artists in this show—and their traditions—hail from every corner of the globe. From rugs and mosaic to metalwork and ceramics, they are merging age-old art and craft customs with innovative techniques that interrupt tradition while still collaborating with the past.
The artists featured in Tradition Interrupted have lived their lives steeped in the traditions of their ancestors and their connections to cultural customs, imagery, and materials are complex. Some have shared the trepidation they felt when they conceptualized and created their art, but in the process of unraveling tradition, these artists are embracing it and bringing it forward. Ancestral memories and political history—at risk of being forgotten in our fast-paced, digital world—take center stage here. It’s harder to lose sight of something that is staring right at you.
Looking at Appalachia
In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared unconditional war on poverty in the United States and nowhere was this war more photographed than Appalachia. A quick Google image search of “war on poverty” will yield several photographs of President Johnson on the porch of the Fletcher family home in Inez, Kentucky.
Many of the War on Poverty photographs, whether intentional or not, became a visual definition of Appalachia. These images have often drawn from the poorest areas and people to gain support for the intended cause, but unjustly came to represent the entirety of the region while simultaneously perpetuating stereotypes.
In an attempt to explore the diversity of Appalachia and establish a visual counter point, this project looks at Appalachia fifty years after the declaration of the War on Poverty. Drawing from a diverse population of photographers within the region, this new crowd sourced image archive will serve as a reference that is defined by its people as opposed to political legislation.
This project is designed and directed by photographer Roger May and is open to submissions from 1 January – 31 December each calendar year.