Jeffrey Gibson, seated at center, and Macy, a member of the Choctaw Nation (right) who is featured in Gibson's <em>I Was Here</em> spoke about Gibson's exhibit at the Wellin Museum.

Jeffrey Gibson, the artist behind the Wellin Museum’s latest exhibition, This Is The Day, attended an Artist Discussion in the Barrett Lab Theater on Sept. 8 as part of the opening day events. Accompanied by the museum’s curator, Tracy Adler, Gibson described his experience in pulling together the exhibition. “It was challenging for a number of reasons, and part of it is because of the high level of details being considered.” Gibson works with materials ranging from paintings and sculptures to garments and film.

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This exhibition, which features a series of embellished garments and helmets that probe the layers of meaning and potential power presented through the ritual of dress, is on view through December 9.

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“I’ve seen a few other exhibitions that Tracy did, and I know she is a huge perfectionist and very detail oriented,” Gibson said. “It looks amazing, I don’t think I’ve seen my work installed quite this way.” Before installing This Is The Day, Gibson experienced difficulty with exhibiting his work as purely contemporary. Although the tribal aspects give his art a historical quality, Gibson intends to portray the past in a present moment. Instead of fixating on the historical elements, This Is The Day highlights the modern themes of identity and popular culture.

 Macy, the protagonist in Gibson’s video I Was Here, later joined the discussion. The video explores Macy’s struggles with her identity as a transgender woman living on a Choctaw reservation. Her experience relates to Gibson’s own identity issues as a gay Mississippian Choctaw. “I was hyperconscious of my differences not just because of my sexuality, but also because I moved around quite a bit growing up,” Gibson said.

I Was Here debuts in the Wellin Museum as a part of Jeffrey Gibson: This Is The Day.

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