By Patrick Tutwiler

Durham, N.C. — Jina Valentine, a Chapel Hill artist from Paris, describes her political art on display at the 21C Hotel in Durham and shares her opinion about the Triangle’s art scene.

Making art pay

This story is part of a series profiling working artists as they try to make a living in the Triangle. We’ll talk to musicians, dancers, performers, painters and poets about the state of the Triangle arts scene and the possibilities for its future.

Meet Jina Valentine

Hanging in neat rows on a wall in one of the exhibition rooms at the 21C Hotel, Jina Valentine’s latest exhibit is at first unassuming. It consists of a dozen sheets of rough, white paper, side by side, behind glass — each one stained with a peculiar black mark.

Jina Valentine

“The piece is called ‘Literacy Test: Rorschach,’” Jina explains. “It represents the trials black people were put through — are still being put through — to get voting rights.”

Each black mark, it turns out, is actually the imprint of a gerrymandered congressional district, so distorted that, out of context, it looks like nothing more than an ink blot.
The idea of the piece, as Jina describes it, is to reveal “the absurdity of the process and protocols that determine how voting districts are defined.

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