Our Living Past

The following information about this past Turchin Center exhibition is kept here for archival purposes only. This exhibition is not currently on display. View current and upcoming exhibitions.

Friday, June 1, 2018
Saturday, August 4, 2018
Smith Gallery at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts

Timothy Duffy has been photographing musicians in the South for thirty-five years and is the founder of the “Music Maker Relief Foundation” a nonprofit organization based in Hillsborough, NC that helps elderly musicians meet their basic needs so that they can share their music with the world. The exhibit, Our Living Past features portraits of these musicians and still lifes of Southern scenes in the form of twenty-five palladium prints created from Duffy’s wet plate photographs.

The portraits featured in the exhibit range from little known harmonica players and blues singer like Dr. Dixon, Algia Mae Hinton, and Lena Mae Perry, to more famous, contemporary artists. Soul singer Sharon Jones, slide guitar virtuoso Derek Trucks, and blues legend Taj Mahal have all had their portraits taken in Duffy’s unique style and are featured in the exhibit. The images were captured by Duffy himself and give a glimpse into the rich historical narrative and vital culture of Southern traditional music. Duffy’s life work, to preserve this culture, now takes on a tangible form through Our Living Past, and works to ensure that these important living links to our history get the recognition they deserve.

Our Living Past premieres at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts on June 1st, 2018 and will be on display until August 5th, 2018 as part of An Appalachian Summer Festival. Hours are Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm and during festival events. This is a special exhibition in partnership with the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, Arts and Culture Programs and the Music Maker Relief Foundation.

Visit the Our Living Past website for more information about the traveling exhibition, book, album and other programing.

Our Living Past debuted in the Atrium Gallery of the Hartsfield Jackson Airport in Atlanta in 2016 and has traveled to various museums and cultural arts centers since then. The photographs in Our Living Past have garnered coverage from the NY Times and TIME magazine’s photography arms.

“These Portraits of Southern Blues Musicians Prove That Blues Is Not Dead” — TIME

About Music Maker Relief Foundation

Music Maker Relief Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit, was founded to preserve the musical traditions of the South by directly supporting the musicians who make it, ensuring their voices will not be silenced by poverty and time. Music Maker assists artists directly with emergency aid and career support, while giving future generations access to their heritage through documentation and performance programs. Since their founding in 1994, they have assisted and partnered with over 300 artists, issued over 150 CDs and reached over a million people with live performances in over 40 states and 17 countries around the globe.

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About Timothy Duffy

Timothy Duffy has been recording and documenting artists since the early age of 16, when he became interested in ethnomusicology. After earning a BA from Friends World College and MA from the Curriculum in Folklore at the UNC, Timothy and his wife Denise founded Music Maker in 1994 to assist traditional musicians in need. Timothy works very closely with partner artists on a daily basis while also overseeing program operations. For his work with Music Maker, Timothy was recognized by ABC Evening News as the "Person of the Week" in April 2004 and was voted Living Blues Producer of the Year in 1999. Timothy has also received honors from National Resophonic Guitars and the NC Folklore Society. Since Music Maker's founding, he has produced more than 151 albums, produced two films, and has presented dozens of traditional Southern musicians at prestigious venues around the world.

“My goal is to disappear somehow from this experience, so when you see the photo it’s just you and the artist.” — Timothy Duffy

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