Jina Valentine is concerned with how art can inspire discussion. Valentine, UNC Assistant Professor of Art, discusses The Black Lunch Table, a collaboration with Heather Hart, a fellow artist based in New York.
Black Lunch Table is a work of social-practice art that provides a discursive space for artists, activists, and community members to discuss critical issues. It began as a social experiment in 2005. It began with the question “what would happen if we segregated the lunch rooms. We are very interested in the conversations that happen at the lunch table,” said Valentine.
The Institute for the Arts and Humanities awarded its inaugural Arts and Social Justice Grant to hold a Black Lunch Table event in Spring 2017. Collaborating with Hong-An Truong February through April on the quad.
The BLT event is called All Rise. It combines strategies from two ongoing collaborative projects,The Black Lunch Table and Hong-An Truong’s And And And Stammering: An Interview (with artist Huong Ngo). All performances will be open to the public and sited outdoors on a temporary structure modeled after a courtroom, and at a set of movable picnic tables.
A lot of her work is very political, especially in the current political climate but also, she says ” in trying to understand my role as a mother of a black son,” says Valentine.
Valentine’s art practice uses art and paper and ink that she has made, working with found objects. “Working with text as found objects,” she says and I am also very interested in craft techniques.”