Four local artists seek to answer three questions—Where has Jacksonville been? Where are we now? And where are we heading?—for JAXNext100, a week of creativity and collaboration envisioning Jacksonville’s next 100 years. The collaborative exhibition, “Past, Present, Future,” on display at The Corner Gallery at the Jessie DuPont Ball Center, showcases the minds and talents of artists Dustin Harewood, Malcolm Jackson, Toni Smailagic and Jordan Walter.
The Bold New City of The South street sign, built for the photo featuruing Nicole Hamm and BeBe Deluxe, hangs on the outward facing wall behind the glass of the gallery, viewable to all passing people. The photo is a remake of a photo of then-Jacksonville Mayor Hans Tanzler and actress Lee Meredith dating back to 1968. Photographer Toni Smailagic, reimagined six historical Jacksonville images using humans currently shaping the future of the city. Read more about his process here https://www.tonismailagic.com/pastpresentfuture/originals-vs-modern-interpretation).
Passing by Dustin Harewood’s prolific reef study paintings, you enter the exhibit, the “Corner Store.” The walls are painted cobalt blue and white contrasting the mix of black and white imagery, streetwear and contemporary portraits. Harwood’s reef studies are painted on skateboard decks and hung next to Smailagic’s Kona remake photo across from a pedestal holding a random set of musical icons who performed in Jacksonville on vinyl (which are available for purchase). The exhibit is so well thought out that a candle was even produced—and guess the scent: the iconic smell of Maxwell Coffee House. This detail really did it for me.
Malcolm Jackson’s and Jordan Walter’s black and white photos of Jacksonville hang next to racks of shirts designed to pay homage to local businesses and institutions, The Sheik Sandwich Shop and Ichiban Japanese Steak House. Among the knick-knacks, you’ll find a lot of historical sports references, a huge halftone photo of an unknown (to me) football player makes a stark contrast on the cobalt wall, t-shirts of the first elected black sheriff in Florida, Sheriff Glover, in his football uniform and olympic gold medalist, Bob Hayes. Inside a glass case, a signed football, a huge collection of old Florida patches, old Jaguars magazines, football cards, a hat and photos make a memorable viewing experience. Everything seems more precious when it’s locked behind glass, it feels as though you are looking at Jacksonville’s Grandpa’s most prized possessions.
The exhibit is really impressive and immersive and maybe one of the best to date. These arisist never fail to inspire when they’re together. Congrats boys! The exhibit is open until November 2, get over there!