Constellation CLT is designed to connect visitors of The Mint Museum with the universe of talent in the local community.
Constellation CLT is an exhibition series designed to connect visitors to The Mint Museum with artists in our community. The installations rotate three times per year and can be seen in six places at Mint Museum Uptown: in the entrance; at the foot of the Morrison Atrium escalator; and on the landings of the Mezzanine, Level 3 and Level 4, and The Mint Museum Store.
Constellation CLT is generously presented by Fifth Third Bank.
Lydia Thompson: Travelers
On view May 13-September 4, 2022
Mixed-media sculptor Lydia Thompson has traveled the world, working in such geographically diverse places as Nigeria, Denmark, and Canada. She trained as a ceramic artist with a bachelor’s degree in fine art from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in fine art from the renowned Alfred University. She has both taught and led university departments throughout the country, most recently at UNC Charlotte. The majority of her work is ceramic, but she also creates sculpture out of paper and mixed media.
In any material, a common thread through her work is the exploration of how we imbue objects with meanings and power and how places—both the landscape and the culture it contains—define who we are. Because she has traveled extensively, she also recognizes the variety of meaning a single image can hold, sometimes provoking diverse interpretations even to members of the same family. Her work explores a person’s relationship to the culture in which they find themselves, presenting identity as distinct from environments while remaining a product of their surroundings.
Naji Al-Ali: “Borderless”
On view September 16, 2022
Self-taught and inspired to be an artist since childhood, Naji Al-Ali’s practice came to fruition seamlessly. Al-Ali observes that his work “started off as paintings and developed meanings”. Parallel to the ideas of borderlessness, seen for examples in Free Birds, Al-Ali recalls traveling often as a child and “never feeling like I had just one home”. This nomad-like freedom fed his creativity while allowing him to forge new ideas of place and belonging in various pockets of the world. Being born in Dubai, growing up in Qutar and taking annual summer trips to Egypt, Al-Ali expresses his need to “create my own home.” Though he has never stepped foot in his homeland of Palestine, Al-Ali feels a deep connection to his lineage and roots there. The city of Charlotte also plays a sacred role in his creative life, being the birthplace of his signature Lemonback character described as, “an abstract reflection of the world that we live in.”
Naji Al-Ali developed an affinity for art early on and was inspired by the work of a politically critical Palestinian cartoonist who is his namesake. He is also influenced by his travels, present surroundings, and heritage. As an artist, Al-Ali thoughtfully conceives of new worlds and employs symbolism imbued by his own sense of belonging, identity, and faith.