SAVANNAH, GA – JULY 11, 2023 – Telfair Museums recently presented an exciting site-specific intervention highlighting artist Sharon Norwood, as part of their #art912 series. It will be on view through September 2023 at the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, located at 124 Abercorn Street. This is the first contemporary artist spotlight at the historic site in over a decade.
In addition to the installation, a special Artist Talk will take place on August 8 at 5:30 p.m. at the Jepson Center. During the event, artist Sharon Norwood and curator Elyse Gerstenecker will discuss Norwood’s insights, artistic practice, and inspiration for the installation.
Through the use of ceramics and other mixed media, this special intervention investigates the story of unpaid labor, violence, and resistance in a way that counters the idealized, romanticized narratives often associated with Southern pre-Civil War homes. Norwood’s pieces center the lived experiences of the enslaved, creating a space for meaningful dialogue that acknowledges America’s complex racial colonial past. The installation will be on display in the drawing room of The Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, the historic 1819 mansion which allows visitors the chance to explore the complicated relationships between the most and least powerful people in the city of Savannah in the early 19th century, with tours focusing on the art, architecture, and history of the home through the lens of slavery.
“Sharon Norwood’s work tells stories about enslavement and resistance in a visually disruptive way, adding a different layer to the narratives that our Historical Interpreters share with visitors to the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters.,” said Elyse Gerstenecker, Curator of Decorative Arts. “It is an exciting opportunity for Telfair Museums to highlight the work of a locally based artist who engages with this past, and in such a direct, meaningful fashion.”
Norwood is a Savannah-based interdisciplinary artist whose work spans several media, including painting and ceramics. Her practice explores issues of identity, speaking about race, gender, and our perceptions of beauty. Norwood received her BFA at the University of South Florida and an MFA in studio art from Florida State University. Her exhibition record includes solo exhibitions, group collaborations, and site-specific installations. She has exhibited in museums and galleries in the US and Canada.
“I hope the installation furthers discussions making room for honest conversations that speak to all our histories” said artist Sharon Norwood.
About Telfair Museums
Opening in 1886, Telfair Museums is the oldest public art museum in the South and the first U.S. museum founded by a woman. The museum features a world-class art collection in the heart of Savannah’s National Historic Landmark District and encompasses three sites: the Jepson Center for the Arts, the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, and the Telfair Academy. For more information on Telfair Museums, please visit www.telfair.org.
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