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Genevieve Gaignard’s Strange Fruit Means to Spark Tough Conversations About Race

Off With Their Heads: The Gallant South, 2022, Chromogenic print, 48 ³⁄₄" x 72 ³⁄₄" x 2". Courtesy of the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles. Photo by Brica Wilcox.

“I filter what’s on my mind through my art,” the artist Genevieve Gaignard says. “Whether something is upsetting me, moving me, or bringing me joy, I think, ‘How do I process that through art to elevate it?’” America’s relationship to racial violence was top of mind when Gaignard, whose father is Black and mother is white, conceived her latest solo exhibition, Strange Fruit, which borrows its name from Billie Holiday's 1939 protest song, and is currently showing at Vielmetter art gallery in Los Angeles. Gaignard was frustrated that “conversations about race had fallen off” after the impassioned unrest in 2020, due to the killings of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, had tempered. With Strange Fruit, Gaignard, whose work explores race, status, resilience, and accountability, aims to “stay in the conversation and continue the unlearning of white supremacy.”

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