Effigy : Hemric
11 December – 8 May 2022
Effigy : Hemric envisions a parallel existence for a living tobacco farmer in the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina. This region, where tobacco growth, production, and sales once thrived, was fractured by the deregulation of the market, leaving many of its farmers destitute. This devastating reality, experienced by the region as a whole, led Danner Washburn (b. 1994, North Carolina) to investigate the lives of various tobacco farmers that endured this “apocalypse.”
Rather than signifying the end of something, here, “apocalypse” represents a shift in existence. Washburn became interested in what elements and psychologies of the culture remained and changed as a result of this undoing. While some farmers abandoned the trade, others, such as Hemric, adjusted and now sustain their practice through the support of government payments. The farmers adapted mentally, as well. In efforts of survival, certain attitudes were fortified within the Yadkin Valley, such as the distrust of outsiders. This notion of hiding, or insularity, still pervades the region, camouflaging the impact actually withstood.
Washburn’s immersive installation, Effigy : Hemric, uncovers these hidden realities by imagining how this particular farmer’s lived experiences, traumas, beliefs, and traditions would manifest in a physical space. To construct this domestic shelter, Washburn scavenged the local landscape—its roadside piles, woods, and second-hand stores—for items that recall the culture and familiarities of the Yadkin Valley region. These objects, both natural and manufactured, were then transformed by the artist to recreate the intimate spaces of Hemric’s home. Characteristics of the shelter, such as its size and layout, as well as decorations and items placed within, act as a visual language for the psychologies of Hemric. While these elements suggest economic position, as well as social and political contexts, Washburn’s primary interest is how they reflect a person’s attempts to maintain their humanity, despite the significant loss and change they have endured. Through this physical representation of a person’s identity and intrapersonal intricacies, Washburn asks us to consider how we are meant to cope, evolve, and survive when destabilized and removed from our realities.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Effigy : Hemric
Thursday, March 10
6 – 7 pm
Sarasota High School Alumni Auditorium
FREE for Members
$20 Not-Yet Members