The photography of Donn Young, which captured the aftermath of and rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina, will have his work honored this summer at a North Carolina gallery and later at a national museum.
Works from throughout Young’s career will be featured from June 24-July 24 at the Eno Gallery in Hillsborough, N.C. A reception will be held on June 24. The exhibition pays tribute to Young’s upcoming permanent installation in The Power of Place Gallery at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
Images from his 2008 photo essay documenting the effects of Hurricane Katrina (which struck in 2005) called “40 Days and 40 Nights” will be among those displayed at the Eno Gallery. The 2008 exhibition grew to include more than 100 Louisiana artisans of many disciplines, all telling the story of Hurricane Katrina through their art. The exhibition was the largest and most well-attended exhibition in the history of the Louisiana State Archives. It focused on the themes of Neighborhoods, Criminal Justice System, Health Care, Arts, Waste Management, Transportation, Education, Religion and Returning Home.
“Don’s an amazing artist and he epitomizes a unique type of personal and familial resilience in that after Hurricane Katrina destroyed his life’s work and his family’s home, he navigated his own recovery while also helping to chronicle the pain of those impacted by our nation’s worst disaster,” said Coastal Resilience Center (CRC) Director Gavin Smith. “After moving to Chapel Hill, I had the good fortune of meeting him. Since that time he has engaged my students in a moving use of his photography blended with storytelling, while allowing his artwork to grace the walls of our center [in Chapel Hill, N.C.].”
In 2008, he helped observe the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in conjunction with several centers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, including the Coastal Hazards Center (precursor to the Coastal Resilience Center).
Since 2009, Young has become a collaborator with researchers to document life during and after disasters. Through visual storytelling, Young blends the use of photos and oral histories to convey important thematic elements of disaster-related impacts as well as the response to and recovery from these events.