Culture Briefs

“The Unseen Forest” Dispels Southern Tropes Through Photography

Nydia Blas

On view Oct. 15–Dec. 6 at the Athens Institute for Contemporary Art, “The Unseen Forest” presents images by three Southern photographers who explore the nuances of living in the region. Atlantan Nydia Blas addresses sexuality, intimacy and her own lived experience through a Black feminine lens, while Jaclyn Kolev Brown of Richmond, VA, negotiates her Southern Baptist upbringing through work that straddles reality and surrealism. With a background as a photojournalist, Aaron Hardin of Jackson, TN, chronicles his family’s pandemic experience and reexamines the humbling power of nature. 

Curator Alex Christopher Williams, who heads an artists-run project space in Atlanta called Minor League, says, “The mysterious ever-eluding nature of geopolitical identities isn’t a new academic practice; however, how we choose what parts of our collective identity to celebrate has begun to shift. State flags are changing, Confederate monuments are being removed, and lawn signs are decorating entire neighborhoods with slogans of solidarity. What magic spell has been cast upon us that has finally allowed for growth and honest reflection?”

Events include a socially-distanced opening reception on Oct. 15 from 7–9 p.m., an online curator and artist panel discussion on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. and an online musical event called “A Social Conversation with Performance” on Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. Visit for details.