“How did we get where we are now?”: Durham’s changes over ten years according to local artist Moriah LeFebvre 

Regan Rhymes 

May 07, 2024

Artist Moriah LeFebvre, from 2014 and 2024, adds to her multimedia art exhibit. The dates listed promote her retrospective event drop-in appointments and reception times at The Fruit. (Photo/https://moriahlefebvre.com/hometown-inherited/.)   

Eight years ago, The Durham VOICE had the pleasure of sharing the stories and artwork of Durham native Moriah LeFebvre. Fast forward to today, LeFebvre rejoins us to talk about her ten-year retrospective exhibit, Hometown (Inherited) taking place downtown at The Fruit. 

Born and raised in the Bull City, LeFebvre’s connections to her community are on full display in her mixed-media glimpses of Durham. Since the last time we spoke with her, the city has undergone accelerated change both architecturally and socially. Her art centers around these transformative snapshots of the city’s story while also capturing new chapters of her own.

From raising her twin boys to working through the pandemic, LeFebvre tells us how this project offers a familial lens to the ongoing urbanization. First, she points to one of her pieces, which is 100% constructed by handmade media.

“What’s really cool is you can see my kids throughout this project,” she said, motioning toward other pieces with children as the subject. “And these are their best friends since they were babies, so you can see them kind of grow up through the pieces.”

Hunt Street (2020)
Liberty Cafe (2014)

“Each subject is a real person from Durham; these are people that I know. It’s all very community-centered. ”

Some of her more recent community-focused pieces incorporate new media. LeFebvre described one work that especially stood out as a “cyanotype.” This art method used iron salts mixed with water to form a special type of paint. When this paint dries and interacts with light, a blue-print like hue comes to life. 

West Main Street (2024)
Rutherford Street (2024)

Just as her pieces have grown alongside her family in Durham, Moriah’s work also highlights the growing skyline of the city with its never ending state of demolition and reconstruction. 

“The development in downtown in particular, it’s changed so much. I feel like so many of them are now large luxury apartment complexes.”

We asked LeFebvre how this made her feel, and why she decided to preserve these points of community transformation, some of which she said “feel dystopian”.

“Since my childhood, I’ve always had this awareness of the transient, temporary nature of things. That’s why this desire to hold onto old memories and remember what it was like before is behind most of my artwork.”

Although she envisioned this project with an end date, LeFebvre said she foresees it to grow along with the changes in her hometown. 

Are you interested in time traveling on this wave through mixed media? LeFebvre’s exhibit will be on display at The Fruit now until Monday, May 20. For more information about this local artist and seeing this work in person, visit https://moriahlefebvre.com/hometown-inherited/ or follow her on Instagram @moriah_lefebvre_art or patreon at www.patreon.com/moriahl.

Regan Rhymes (she/her/hers) is a columnist, audio journalist and reporter for the Durham VOICE.

She is a second-year media and journalism student from Kernersville, North Carolina. Her small-town roots have fostered her love for tight-knit spaces and communities. Throughout her career, Regan has been an advocate for creative expression. Her stories range from podcasting for the Teen Leadership Network to speech writing for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. In addition to being a public speaker and journalist, Regan is a performer who loves showcasing the unique artistry and talents of the Bull City. She looks forward to delving deeper in Durham’s pool of creative writers, singers, instrumentalists, visual artists and designers.

Contact Regan: rrhymes@unc.edu

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