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Chesley Antoinette: Tignon

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Image credit: Chesley Antoinette, Rachel Pringle

The 1786 Tignon Law of Louisiana was enacted to oppress affluent women of African descent, to decrease their beauty and thereby diffuse their alure to white men. Under the administration of Governor Esteban Rodriguez Miro, women of African descent were forced to cover their hair as an effort to control them, their affluence, beauty and intelligence. However, the headwrap became a symbol of rebellion as women donned their hair with exquisite, colorful scarves, adding jewelry, ribbon and other fine material. The Tignon was and is embraced by women of African descent, proving an occasion to showcase one’s creativity and adaptability.




Artist Chesley Antoinette is the creator and designer of Cantoinette Studios where she explores wearable art and sculpture. Antoinette, teacher at Mountain View College in Dallas Texas, holds a BFA in sculpture from Stephen F. Austin University and an MFA from University of North Texas in Fiber Art. In Tignon, she presents a collection of unique turbans, exhibiting a vast range of color, form and wrapping techniques. The headwraps are accompanied by large scale contemporary photographs and essays providing visual and written historical context to the Tignon Law. 





Emerging Photographers

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Image credit: Mae Munkeby, The Leap of Boredom, Digital photograph

Each fall the DAI partners with the University of Minnesota—Duluth to showcase a collection of emerging photographers. This year’s collaboration yielded 11 images from six students selected by jurors Susanna Gaunt and DAI Exhibition Director, Amy Varsek. Co-juror Gaunt graduated from UMD with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting, Drawing and Printmaking and was selected for the 2019 UMD Emerging Photographers exhibition. Gaunt remarks, “It is always exciting to see through the eyes of emerging photographers. This year’s submissions ranged from playful to mysterious, and classic to nontraditional, showcasing curiosity and commitment towards exploring the world through the medium of light.” With images capturing everyday life, landscapes, and the human figure, the 2021 UMD Emerging Photographers exhibition develops three themes: photographic commentary, reflecting on the pandemic, and bringing a sense of fun into our lens. Congratulations to this year’s UMD Emerging Photographers Sara Guymon, Mae Munkeby, Sarah Roesler, Nicole Schneider, Emily Spaniol, and Hanyu Zhang.

Explore this work by visiting the Duluth Art Institute venue on the Smartify app.

Hanyu Zhang layers selfies onto her favorite sweet and savory snacks.  Her pictures include trendy doodle vectors: animal ears and whiskers don her selfies with streamers and icons of celebration.  She says of her work, “I see myself as colorful and loving life in this series of photos. I just want people to know who I am and feel the joy of life.”


Sara Guymon excels in lifestyle photography, with her submitted series focusing on daily life prior to the pandemic. Her piece, Crosswalk Sign exemplifies skilled lighting and a keen eye for detail. Viewers will notice, perhaps for the first time, the texture of a walking figure in a lighted crosswalk sign, an everyday object elevated to awareness.


Emily Spaniol examines the passage of time and changing landscape in Seasons of Change. This layered panoramic image follows Duluth’s eastern hillside, spanning from tree topped green spaces to urbanized Woodland Avenue. Variations in the grey skies meet the fall colors of Duluth before fading into the buildings of our city.

Mae Munkeby juxtaposes detail and wide shots in her diptychs, Passing the Time and The Leap of Boredom. Munkeby chronicles her family during stay-at-home orders: her sister reads with their family cat and her brother jumps into frigid lake water. Both diptychs capture her siblings coping mechanisms as well as a sense of isolation.


Nicole Schneider, working in black and white, displays technical skill in her series Female Gaze. Shadows fall across male bodies, alerting the viewer to strong, defined muscles. Schneider explains her mindset regarding this collection, “I felt as if I was objectifying people, I didn’t like how that made me feel. I continued with the project because I knew it was important and would spark interesting conversations on the idea of the female gaze.”  


Sarah Roesler’s images combine two collections of photographs.  Cerulean Sky offers the viewer an escape into pure blue waves of fabric while her black and white image Pong documents a popular drinking game. Both images record a moment, offering a glimpse of movement and beauty.




  The Duluth Art Institute's programs and services are made possible in part through the support of the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation by the State Legislature from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2018.

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