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Mississippi Made

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

Northeast Mississippi artists are well represented in this year’s Mississippi Invitational exhibit at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson.

Written by Leslie Criss | Photos Courtesy of Mississippi Museum of Art

Earlier in 2023, as plans were being made for this year’s Mississippi Invitational, perhaps the biggest question to be answered was: What artists would be chosen for the exhibition? Enter Katie Pfohl, associate curator of contemporary art at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Pfohl was the guest curator for the 2023 Mississippi Invitational.

The art — all created by contemporary artists living and working in Mississippi — features painting, sculpture, photography, installation and video. It is as diverse as the creators.

Of the 15 selected, six are from northeast Mississippi. The others are from Brandon, Jackson, Cleveland and Perkinston.

The theme for the exhibit is “Gulfs among Us,” relating to the social, political, cultural and geographic divisions in today’s world. The works of the 15 artists on display responds to gulfs between people and communities, humans and the environment and the interior and exterior selves of people.

Those selected were also eligible to apply for The Jane Crater Hiatt Artist Fellowship, a grant of up to $20,000 awarded to one artist. The 2023 recipient, announced during an opening reception at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, is Adrienne Brown-David of Water Valley. The fellowship provides a unique study-and-travel scholarship to support an individual artist in the development and creation of art over a period of two years.

“My current body of work is a conversation about the identity of Black girls and women in the American South, where race is a constant and pervasive thread woven into the daily fabric of life,” Brown-David said in her artist statement. “I would love to broaden the conversation to include people for whom that thread does not exist … where the concept of Blackness does not exist in the daily lives of its citizens.”

Brown-David will use her award to travel to Nigeria, Senegal and Liberia to broaden her perspective. She will spend time interviewing, photographing and painting the women and girls she meets during her trip and will explore the connection between West Africa and the American South.

Adrienne Brown-David, Water Valley

Adrienne Brown-David is an artist living in Water Valley whose work is widely influenced by her four daughters. Her medium of choice has evolved through the years, from graphite and colored pencils to pen-and-ink to oil paintings. Of her work, Brown-David has said that it captures Black childhood that is pure and uninterrupted. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and spent a year at the School of Art Institute of Chicago.

Brooke White, Oxford

New Hampshire-born Brooke White is a photographer and visual artist who has lived in Oxford since 2005. White is a professor of art and area head of Imaging Arts in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Mississippi. She also has served as affiliate faculty in the Master of Fine Arts in Documentary Expression at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. For two decades, White has made landscape and nature central in her art.

Kariann Fuqua, Oxford

Kariann Fuqua is an instructional assistant professor of art and director of Museum Studies at the University of Mississippi. The Oklahoma-born Fuqua is an abstract artist whose drawings, paintings and collage explore chaos and control. Her work is often about grief and climate change issues. She received her BFA in painting from Kansas State University and an MFA in painting from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Caroline Hatfield, Starkville

Artist Caroline Hatfield lives in Starkville and is assistant professor and area coordinator of sculpture at Mississippi State University. Hatfield received her BFA in sculpture from the University of Tennessee, and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studio Art from Towson University in Maryland. The multidimensional artist mixes sculpture, installation, photography and drawing as she explores landscape, ecology and science fiction.

James Kane, Water Valley

Water Valley resident James Kane received his BFA in painting and sculpting from Louisiana State University and his MFA in painting from Indiana University. Kane describes his artistic style as figurative. His medium leans heavily on oil, and through his art he likes to explore history, memory and intimacy as it relates to contemporary representations of queerness. Kane is originally from Louisiana.

Taylor Loftin, Water Valley

Painter Taylor Loftin, who is originally from Jackson, today lives and works in Water Valley. He received his BFA from Memphis College of Art and his MFA from the University of Arkansas. Loftin has described his art as “bright, heavily textured and dreamy.”


The Mississippi Invitational exhibition is on display through Sept. 17 at the Mississippi Museum of Art, 308 South Lamar Street, in Jackson. The museum hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

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