The Dalton Gallery of Agnes Scott College presents “Hello Liberty,” which opened September 24 to run through November 21, 2008. “Hello Liberty” came during the time of an election of great significance, when immigration issues built borders, while freedoms continued to be threatened and apathy abounded. Artists, including Eve Fowler, Mario Petrirena and Hope Hilton, let loose their liberties in the gallery.
Many in the United States wake up to greet their liberties. Hello! Hello! Expectations of future global freedoms burn in their chests, delightful visions of sisterhood and brotherhood fill their head, a system where all are treated equal, deserving of the same rights and privileges. For others, liberty means autonomy only for those in positions in power; with lines drawn around race, class, religion, gender; they section out who has rights and who does not. News from China, Myanmar, Russia, Venezuela, tell us of freedom losses. We measure ourselves in contrast to judge how free we really are—to think, to feel, to question. How do we form freedom, taking into consideration the greater good, with ethics and empathy at the forefront of decision-making? Liberties seem selective and context-bound, their fluidity rolled into a ball of caution tape or a wavering mirage. Though they seem marked on hold by constitutions, laws still change with government, politics, social norms and expectations of new generations.
We are shaped by our social freedoms, hindered by lack of our own authority. It is not always easy to live where you want, eat what you want, sleep with who you want. We define ourselves by how we express gender, love, politics, and how open we are in public, to our families, in the workplace. Difference, disability, nudity is often shunned—the quality of our surface, the peeling of our second skin to show our raw form, is too much to bear. Our bodies provide certain abilities and limitations that can negotiate how we claim freedom. To live free and simply on our planet, a romantic disconnection off the grid and away from the convolution of urban life, takes guts (and money).
Curated by Lisa Alembik