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Shervone Neckles ‘Bless This House’ artist talk at UNF Gallery of Art

Shervone Neckles’ “Bless This House” exhibit Prior to Shervone Neckles’ “Bless This House” exhibit opening at MOCA Jacksonville, the UNF Department of Art, Art History & Design will host an artist talk with Neckles from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1, at the UNF Gallery of Art in Founders Hall, Building 2, Suite 1001.

The exhibit’s opening reception is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3, and will be on view through Sunday, March 5, at MOCA Jacksonville.

The song, “Bless this House,” in the voice of Mahalia Jackson filled the rooms of Neckles' family home in Grenville, Grenada, West Indies. Encircled by the repeated refrain in varying tones, this Gospel calls for a blessing—to the walls, roof, door, and windows. Lastly, it somberly calls for a heartfelt prayer to the people that inhabit the house.

This song, like all prayers, is a solemn request for help in the face of uncertainty, an appeal for guidance towards refuge and security. This question is always in the minds of immigrants, including Neckles' Afro-Caribbean family, who migrated to Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York, in the 1960s and 70s. The selection of prints and installation in this exhibition reminds viewers of the importance of our identities and legacies, where we are from—and where home truly lives.

Neckles is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, community worker and artist advocate who uses repurposed materials and Afro-Caribbean sensibilities to retell histories and mythologies. By embellishing textiles, assemblage, printmaking, sculpture and installation, Neckles connects the sacred and scientific, the past and the present, and life with the afterlife.

Her recent projects include BEACON a public art installation, recently displayed at the Lewis Latimer House Museum, Queens, NY, Fulton Plaza, Downtown Brooklyn, NY; and Roots/Anchors at the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, Snug Harbor, in 2021-22. Her work was featured as part of the 2019 Venice Biennale's Grenada Pavilion.

This exhibition is made possible by support from the Devereux family and presented in conjunction with the Barbara Ritzman Devereux Visiting Artist Workshops at UNF.  This exhibition was curated by UNF associate professors from the Department of Art, Art History, and Design, Sheila Goloborotko and Andy Kozlowski. Additional support for this exhibition was made in part by UNF, the City of Jacksonville, the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts.