Everyone Needs a Lil’ Help, oil on canvas, 60″ x 36″, 2021
It’s Okay to Go Home, oil on canvas, 35″ x 48″, 2022
Those Who Can, Leave; Those Who Can’t, Teach, oil on canvas, 48″ x 24″, 2021
Y’all Full of Crud, oil on canvas, 36″ x 36″, 2022
With Love, oil on canvas, 36″ x 36″, 2021
No Politics at the Table, oil on canvas, 36″ x 36″, 2021
Whiskey River, oil on canvas, 22″ x 30″, 2022
Bless His Heart, oil on canvas, 60″ x 36″, 2022
My practice as an oil painter uses humor to sift through the discourse around the stigmas and stereotypes about life in the holler of Appalachia. What fuels my humor and makes the case for Appalachia is my personal experience of growing up in eastern Kentucky’s Bath County. As someone who has lived within and without the region, my own perception of the area can mar the joy and indisputable necessity that Appalachia is to our country. Painting both personal experience and shared folklore of the region pushes me to educate and prepare for what Appalachia means for the future.
My work not only represents Appalachia; it also critiques Appalachia. My aim is to show that there is room for significant criticism of the area that has both benefited from and been damaged by its stigmatization as “Trump Country” and its fall to tropes that further cultural and political divides.
About the Artist
Ceirra Evans is a Louisville-based painter who graduated from Spalding University in January 2021. She originally grew up in eastern Kentucky in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
Awarded a Great Meadows Foundation Artist Travel Grant, Ceirra Evans has plans to go to Washington, D.C., and New York City in late April 2022 to study how major American collections display Appalachian identity.
Two of Ceirra Evans’s paintings are in the exhibition “Still Life! Meaning, Mourning, Mending” through December 2022 at 21c Museum Hotels’ contemporary art museum in Louisville. Her body of work “It’s Okay to Go Home” was part of the “New Year, New Artists, New Work” exhibition at Moremen Gallery, also in Louisville, from January 21, 2022, through February 19, 2022. The latter show was reviewed by Natalie Weis for the arts magazine Hyperallergic. Ceirra Evans’s work also was the subject of a February 15, 2022, article in The New Yorker magazine.
Since 2020, Ceirra Evans has directed Louisville’s Folx Gallery, which she also founded. In 2021, Ceirra Evans completed at Louisville’s Speed Art Museum a curatorial internship focused on acquisitions.
Undertaking to create a new body of work, Ceirra Evans is working on paintings representing her own experience of growing up queer in Appalachia.
Notes on the Paintings
Everyone Needs a Lil’ Help
This work depicts a breadline on a dreary day. Based on personal experience and observation of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, I can say that more people are having to seek out those who can help.
It’s Okay to Go Home
This painting depicts a homecoming scene between my mother and me. My mother is standing on the porch smoking, and I am walking up to her with a trash bag that, presumably, could be filled with clothes.
Those Who Can, Leave; Those Who Can’t, Teach
A young person sits at the table staring at a globe. On the table sit bills, receipts, and a magazine. In the background is a family picture that reminds the person why he must leave or must stay.
Y’all Full of Crud
This is a direct depiction of my older cousins caught smoking while sitting on my uncle’s old Mustang in the 1960s.
An older woman lights a sparkler and enjoys her evening at an outside event with her family.
No Politics at the Table
A family sits together eating from paper plates in a smoke-filled room.
Living at an RV park, a man wakes up in the middle of the night and puts himself back to sleep with a bottle of Wild Turkey and a Marlboro Red.
Bless His Heart
A man has fallen to a stroke. As a close family member helps him, others in the room turn their eyes away, only hoping for the best.