Jennifer Shaw: Hurricane Story
October 2011 – March 2012
The Presbytere, Louisiana State Museum
751 Chartres St.
New Orleans, LA 70116
Hours: Tue-Sun 10am-4:30pm
Museum admission: $6
“Hurricane Story,” an exhibit of photographs by Jennifer Shaw, opens at the Louisiana State Museum on Oct. 21. With twenty vivid images, Shaw narrates her experience during Hurricane Katrina. Told in vignettes created of toys, carefully lit and captured with a modified Holga camera —itself more of a toy than the choice of a professional photographer such as Shaw— the compositions alternate between the whimsical and the deadly serious. The exhibit will be on view in the Presbytere’s 1st Floor Special Exhibition Gallery through March, 2012.
In the early hours of August 28, 2005, Jennifer Shaw and her husband loaded up their small truck with two cats, two dogs, two crates full of negatives, all their important papers and a few changes of clothes. They evacuated to a motel in southern Alabama, and waited anxiously. Nine months pregnant, Shaw gave birth to her first son just as the storm ravaged the Gulf Coast. After an odyssey lasting more than two months, they returned home to New Orleans.
Like many artists, Shaw pursued an outlet to express these life-changing events in her art. “The project began as a cathartic way to process some of the lingering anger and anxiety over that bittersweet journey,” she states in the introduction to her 2011 book, “Hurricane Story.” “It grew into a narrative series of self-portraits in toys illustrating my experiences and emotional state during our time in exile.” The book, “Hurricane Story,” published by Chin Music Press will be available at the Friends of the Cabildo Giftshop in Jackson Square.
The Presbytere, a National Historic Landmark building, is located on Jackson Square.