Experience Creole Culture at MGCCC’s Jackson County Campus LibraryMississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Jackson County Campus Library is celebrating Creole culture June 1-July 31 with “The Labat Project,” a traveling exhibit by Bay St. Louis artist Lori K. Gordon that examines the history of Creoles of coastal Mississippi. The artist will discuss her work during a reception on June 21, 2012, at noon, in the library.
“The Labat Project” is the second phase of an undertaking Gordon launched in 2000 when she conducted an oral history with Celestine Labat of Bay St. Louis. Labat, who lived until the age of 102, loaned the artist her family photographs and other artifacts Gordon used to create an 8’ x 10’ art quilt titled “Labat: A Creole Legacy” which was completed in 2003, and was later acquired by the Smithsonian Institution for inclusion in their permanent collection. Gordon then began work on the second phase of the project, which constitutes a traveling exhibit of eighteen panels, each displaying images from the Labat family archives and portions of Celestine Labat's oral history. The exhibit also looks at other Creole families in coastal communities with names such as Piernas, Rabateau, Saucier, Cospelich and Barabino.
The project was made possible by a generous grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council and the support of The University of Southern Mississippi’s Katrina Research Center, especially the efforts of Project Director Dr. Deanne Nuwer, Associate Professor of History at Southern Miss Gulf Coast, and Shugana Williams, Research Consultant/Librarian. The Six Degrees Consortium provided additional support.
Nuwer explains the project’s significance is due to the combination of art and history, which highlights the Creole experience. “We are so pleased to be working with Lori Gordon on this project so that everyone can experience her artistic talents and, at the same time, become acquainted with the Creole contributions to the development of Hancock County. This project is the best of both disciplines,” she said.
Gordon adds that while the project has personal significance for her, she believes that it has profound public value as well. “Visual art is a powerful form of storytelling and, combined with the compelling voice of Celestine Labat, the result is an experience that is intriguing, enlightening and unforgettable.”
For more information, contact Angela Balius at 228-497-7716 or by email at email@example.com.