It’s hard to know whether you’re in an art exhibit or a treasure hunt.
“Vision & Spirit: African American Art,” a collection of more than 100 works tracking the black experience from the Underground Railroad to contemporary equality themes, is as remarkable for what it hides as what it shows.
Filling two galleries at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Art + Culture on South Tryon Street, the exhibition repeatedly startles the visitor into double-takes.
So many pieces contain a subtle subtext, a hidden icon, an odd historical juxtaposition that even the most casual viewers find themselves stirred to amateur detectivedom, drawn deeper into the photos, canvases and stitchings to unlock what lurks within.
Channeling the West African cloth tradition in one of her intriguing quilts, artist Faith Ringgold hides an urgent message around the border that whispers to a runaway slave: “Look for an old farmhouse with