W|ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine explores the use of walls throughout centuries, across civilizations

W|ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine explores the use of walls throughout centuries, across civilizations

Mint Museum Uptown’s 10-year anniversary celebration continues with opening of new photography exhibition


Charlotte, N.C. (February 1, 2021)— As a continued celebration of Mint Museum Uptown’s 10th anniversary, W|ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine examines the historic use and artistic treatment of barriers — whether made of stone, sand, steel, or wire — through photography. The exhibition, presented by PNC Bank, is scheduled to open Feb. 24 in Mint Museum Uptown’s Level 4 Brand Gallery.

Through more than 130 photographs taken by 67 photographers across five continents, W|ALLS explores architectural aspects of these barriers, as well as the stories of people’s lives touched by the boundaries.

The exhibition is divided into six sections — delineation, defense, deterrent, the divine, decoration, and the invisible — with each section anchored by a central photo essay. From the Berlin Wall’s fall to Jerusalem’s Western Wall, as well as barriers built in India, Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Northern Ireland, and along the United States’ southern border, W|ALLS includes images that span five continents from photographers of all stripes: documentarians, photojournalists, artists, protestors, commercial photographers, explorers, and even a Tibetan Buddhist monk.Curated by Jen Sudul Edwards, PhD, chief curator and curator of contemporary art at The Mint Museum, W|ALLS includes works by nationally recognized artists Carol Guzy, Moises Saman, SHAN Wallace, Banksy, JR, John Moore, and Tanya Aguiñiga.

Charlotte-based artists featured in the exhibition include: Will Jenkins, who photographed Dammit Wesley’s Strange Fruit mural in uptown Charlotte; UncleJut who photographed Darion Fleming’s Pure’ll Gold mural that made The New York Times cover page in March 2020; and Linda Foard Roberts, a recent Guggenheim Fellowship recipient.

“When Katie Hollander and I began working on the W|ALLS exhibition in 2018, we could not have imagined a more divided world, and yet, even though the COVID-19 pandemic has united us in a common anxiety, here we are, even more segmented and antagonistic,” says Sudul Edwards. “The images in this exhibition remind us of our common humanity and why we are stronger together than apart, no matter what our race, ethnicity, or political ideology.”

In concert with the photographic exhibition, artists Candy Chang and James Reeves created Light the Barricades, interactive installations that appeared in three sites throughout Los Angeles before relocating to the plaza in front of the Annenberg Space for Photography. Light the Barricades was inspired by the I Ching, one of the oldest Chinese texts. Nearly 30 feet in length and 8 feet high, each installation features a word that represents an emotional barrier and offers an opportunity for contemplation. One of these walls will be on view in front of Mint Museum Uptown in conjunction with the photography exhibition.

“Walls make up a significant portion of our surroundings, especially in urban settings, and these photographers present us with new ways of thinking about how we are affected by these structures,” says Todd A. Herman, PhD, president and CEO of The Mint Museum. “It is impossible to walk through this exhibition and not have it inspire a conversation.”

This is the first exhibition at The Mint Museum with Spanish translations throughout. All object labels include a QR code to scan for a Spanish translation, and there are printed translations on introduction panels.

“With this exhibition, The Mint Museum continues to deliver on its unique ability to engage our community in timely, thought-provoking conversation and reflection,” said Weston Andress, PNC regional president for Western Carolinas. “The themes addressed in the photography hold relevance for all, and PNC is proud to help bring this compelling and ambitious exhibition to Charlotte.”

W|ALLS was originally scheduled to open in May 2020. Shipping crates containing much of the show — gifted to the Museum by Annenberg Space for Photography, which was the originator of the exhibit — were delayed due to COVID-19.

W|ALLS is made possible by Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, Calif., and is generously presented by PNC Bank, and supporting sponsors The Mint Museum Auxiliary, Laura and Mike Grace, Leigh-Ann and Martin Sprock, Betsy Rosen and Liam Stokes, and Deidre and Clay Grubb. QC Exclusive is the media sponsor.

The Mint Museum

The Mint Museum Established in 1936 as North Carolina’s first art museum, The Mint Museum is a leading, innovative cultural institution and museum of international art and design. With two locations — Mint Museum Randolph in the heart of Eastover and Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts — the Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community.

PNC Bank

PNC Bank, National Association, is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC). PNC is one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the United States, organized around its customers and communities for strong relationships and local delivery of retail and business banking including a full range of lending products; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management. For information about PNC, visit www.pnc.com.

The Annenberg Foundation

The Annenberg Foundation is a family foundation that provides funding and support to nonprofit organizations in the United States and globally. Since 1989, it has generously funded programs in education and youth development; arts, culture and humanities; civic and community life; health and
human services; and animal services and the environment.


Caroline Portillo, Senior Director of Marketing & Communications at The Mint Museum
caroline.portillo@mintmuseum.org | 704.488.6874 (c)

Michele Huggins, Communications and Media Relations Project Manager at The Mint Museum
michele.huggins@mintmuseum.org | 704.564.0826 (c)


Download the PDF Media Kit for W|ALLS here.