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Renée Stout
Tales of the Conjure Woman

Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art
Foreword by Andrea Barnwell Brownlee

A peek into the rich traditions of the African American Hoodoo folk culture through a touring art exhibit

Renée Stout's work explores the contours of the African American experience and the existence of an underground system of African-derived folk beliefs as transmitted from slavery to the present. This system, known variously as Hoodoo or conjuring, has its origins in herbal medicine, root work, and a belief in the spiritual attributes of plants and animals. For many years the artist has used the alter ego Fatima Mayfield, a fictitious herbalist/fortune-teller, as a vehicle to role-play and confront such issues as romantic relationships, social ills, and financial woes in a way that is open, creative, and humorous.

Tales of the Conjure Woman gives us a peek into a fascinating world ruled by superstition and ancestral wisdom. Fatima Mayfield offers her best advice and works in her roots. Renée Stout is an able guide, but she leaves only a trail. Her role is to awaken us to the unseen forces at work all around us—to heighten our senses. Through her art we are presented a prism that enables us to view a particular aspect of the rich traditions and cultural practices of African America.

Renée Stout is best known for her artistic explorations of vestigial retentions of African cultural traditions as manifested in contemporary America. For many years, the artist has used the alter ego Fatima Mayfield as a vehicle to role-play and confront such issues as romantic relationships, social ills, and financial woes in a way that is open, creative, and humorous.

Andrea Barnwell Brownlee serves as director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art in Atlanta, Georgia.

Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston in South Carolina advocates, exhibits, and interprets visual art, with an emphasis on contemporary art. In addition to producing exhibitions, lectures, film series, publications, and a comprehensive website, the Halsey Institute serves as an extension of the undergraduate curricula at the college and as a cultural resource for the region. The Halsey Institute hosts between five and seven exhibitions per year that highlight contemporary art by emerging and mid-career artists of national stature. All exhibitions are accompanied by programming such as lectures and gallery talks by artists and curators, commissioned films, and performance pieces.

The Renée Stout exhibit was coorganized with Spelman College Museum of Fine Art and the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton College.

 
 

 

book jscket for Renee Stout


 

ART
(2015)
10 x 10
172 pages
107 color and 5 b&w illus.
ISBN 978-1-4675-8678-8
hardcover, $39.95t
Distributed for the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art
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