Shelby Johnson: Bury Me Beneath the Magnolia Tree

The silhouette of a person with a ponytail stands against the background of a bright yellow sky, farm fencing, and a bonfire is lit at their feet.

Still image from A House Without Doors (2022), digital video. image / provided

Bury Me Beneath the Magnolia Tree is a meditation on generational impact. This installation draws heavily on Shelby Johnson's southern background and the roots their family has grown in the south. Named after the main character in the film Steel Magnolias (1989), the symbol of the magnolia tree has followed Johnson from Alabama to Georgia to Texas and become a version of a matriarch. Made up of video, installation, and performance, this exhibition ponders the labor of loving a place, of keeping a family, and what happens when you lack the energy to do either.  

 

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