Legacies of Harriet’s World

Aug 28, 2020 – Oct 11, 2020

Terry Plater’s exhibit title is meant to convey several things: the intergenerational history, value, and ownership of our collective American story as embodied in slavery and emancipation, and the acknowledgement of Harriet Tubman as a local figure and national treasure.

This exhibit is part of the CNY Emerging Artist Project exhibition series in conjunction with the Schweinfurth Art Center. Terry’s work will be on display in both the Cayuga and Gallery Julius at the Schweinfurth. Terry intends to use the setting of the former family home at the Cayuga Museum to display private images based on her family photos in an intimate setting. This highlights the possibility, if not the reality, of valuing home as a safe and welcoming space, even or especially in periods of duress.

In Gallery Julius, Terry intends to present her landscape paintings in a panoramic format to accentuate the notion of passing through as an act that is physical, emotional, and personal as well as imbued with cultural memory:  at once dreamlike, intentionally imprecise, and evocative.

She states, 

“The idea for this show came together for me in an iterative fashion as I contemplated three things:  last year’s 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans in the now United States, the recent release of the film Harriet which so richly conveyed the life, struggles and triumphs of Harriet Tubman, and an ongoing project I have been undertaking — painting from old family photos to better come to know and honor the history of my own family in Maryland and Virginia. The exhibits link these discreet endeavors in a single narrative, one that imagines, represents, and celebrates family history and 19th- 20th century public life — specifically here in upstate NY — as emblematic.  The title is meant to convey several things:  the intergenerational history, value, and ownership of our collective American story as embodied in slavery and emancipation, the acknowledgement of Harriet Tubman as a local figure and national treasure, and a nod to Andrew Wyeth’s iconic painting Christina’s World with its imagery of a badly crippled woman struggling on the ground to reach a house – her home? – on the hilltop above. A reproduction of this painting hung on the living room wall in my childhood home; it has significance on several levels: Andrew Wyeth was the first artist to inspire my own artistic journey; my father was crippled with polio; my grandmother and sister are named Christina.”