Participating artists: Derrick Adams, Lennon Jno-Baptiste, Jee Hui Chang, Cynthia Edorh, Hee See Kim, C. Duane Lee, Tyeakia Miles, San Bin Park, Eddy Steinhauer
Curator: Carl E. Hazlewood
The changeling myth appears in many different cultures, from Egypt to Middle Europe. The basic folktale tells of human children that are sometimes switched with infants from the world of fey in the middle of the night. Often, the switched faery infant would misbehave, or may be physically or mentally lacking in some way. This myth was often used as an explanation for birth defects, often resulting in the torture or destruction of the `different’ child.Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild With a faery, hand in hand, For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand… From `The Stolen Child’ by William Butler Yeats
According to FiveMyles guest curator, Carl E. Hazlewood, “the artists included in the exhibition, are all `changelings’ of a sort. As immigrants from nearby Canada, the Caribbean, Korea, or even the Deep South of this country, they have, of necessity, moved about the world, exchanging one way of life for another. So they understand the effects of transformation, and subtle state of adjustment in artistic form, as in life. They constantly straddle the wavering edge between here and there, this and that. Each artist negotiates the periphery of limitation and possibility, of form and experience, in ways only they can.”
By means of his performances, constructions, and videos, Derrick Adams allows us to enter a beguiling but obsessive realm of innocence and fantasy. It is the disturbing world of a precocious child seemingly lost in a fairy-tale; there’s an unnerving sense of danger… and desire. In wonder we gradually recognize this alternate terrain; it is one from which we long ago escaped in order to emerge into the world whole and adult—but without the magic.
Lennon Jno-Baptiste says he uses, “iconic images of the past centuries (...) contemporary objects, and my own signs. I am exploring new symbols and new myths.” The formal accretion, translation and organization of Jno-Baptiste’s images and social signifiers into something new can be understood when one remembers that in the Caribbean, to survive in body, spirit, and culturally, it took subterfuge and the syncretic welding of experience and multiple histories. Mr. Jno-Baptiste, a New Yorker, originally from the island of Nevis, in the West Indies, totally understands how that problematized history and the cultural and physical body can be transformed and manipulated.
JeeHui Chang’s bright installations are constructed in opposition to the world as it is, its apparent pessimism. Her work, light and fresh, symbolically resists the raging emotional wars of the modern street and home, as well as the blood-wars we follow on TV each night. Recently, the darkness drew intimately close, drifting silently into our houses as white ash, accompanied by an acrid stench that stuck forever in our noses and throats. But JeeHui’s colorful costumes, and the peppermint candy she hands out, are soothing sweet gifts to visitors of her installations; and her quick smile and anime-pixie energy is a temporary, always futile antidote to stave off the ever-encroaching darkness.
Eddy Steinhauer has described the parameters within which he works as a kind of “black space”. This is a metaphorically complex site where the modern black `body’ can come to terms with its complexity and `difference’ within a circumscribed social space. Steinhauer is especially equipped to explore this complexity because of his personal biography. As a Haitian-born person who was adopted by white Americans as a child, he has, for all his life, continually crossed and re-crossed the resistant, yet permeable barriers of race and social position in relation to the political and emotional territory of the constructed family. But as a Western person within the black diaspora, Steinhauer’s art underscores his struggle to come to terms with contending elements of a classically complicated American biography. He does this via his understanding of the integrating function of myth for the human family.
Using a cheap unobtrusive Kodak digital camera, C. Duane Lee takes remarkable snapshots of kids on the edge; the pictures are evidence, precarious moments of perfect beauty, and high vulnerability. These small photographs from the Deep South, document boys, many of who are emotionally on their own, even while living at home. At once knowing, yet innocent, these young people are preternaturally aware from an early age of how the world works. And as true `changelings’, of a sort, they find alternative means of dealing with everyday liffe and creating family—often discovering only in each other, the nurturing love all children need to survive.
Others in the exhibition are: Cynthia Edorh, HeeSee Kim, Tyeakia Miles, SanBin Park.