Shannon Egan, Director of Schmucker Art Gallery
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Zoë Charlton’s grandmother, Everlena Bates, was a domestic worker in Northern Florida. Charlton pays homage not only to her grandmother in her recent body of work, but also to the long history of African-American women’s labor in white families’ homes throughout the South. Although her grandmother did not speak often or directly about the conditions of her employment, Charlton nonetheless is keenly aware of the injustices, possible abuses, and intimate labor endured by black maids, housekeepers, and nannies who worked endlessly long hours and with little pay through the twentieth century. The collages and large-scale installation in Charlton’s exhibition The Domestic at Schmucker Art Gallery examine the notions of caretaking across racial and class lines, the fragility and failings of a home, and the complications of gender and sexuality in relation to this intensely bodily domestic work.
Schmucker Art Gallery, Gettysburg College
Gettysburg College, African American, Women, Gender and Sexuality, Domestic Work
Egan, Shannon, "Zoë Charlton: The Domestic" (2019). Schmucker Art Catalogs. 31.