2020-2021 Graduate Arts Fellow in Experimental and Documentary Arts Moriah LeFebvre

Moriah Lefebvre The Institute is pleased to introduce Moriah LeFebvre as the Kenan Graduate Arts Fellow in Experimental and Documentary Arts for the 2020-2021 academic year.

LeFebvre’s undergraduate background is in fine art production, and she has worked for years as a professional painter and mixed media artist. Now in her second year in the MFA|EDA program, she is exploring how traditional hand drawing and painting can enhance documentary storytelling. LeFebvre is in the process of creating work for a mixed media exhibit to be shown in the Keohane-Kenan Gallery and virtually this spring. The exhibit, called Works In Rough Going, focuses on the wrenching loss of community for people in substance abuse recovery in the wake of COVID-19. For months, in-person meetings, long a supportive lifeline for people emerging from alcohol and drug abuse, were all canceled due to the coronavirus. New, virtual ways of engaging have sprung up in the intervening months, offering new, if imperfect, ways of engaging. LeFebvre’s work asks important questions about the nature of community, the immense toll of life under lockdown for vulnerable populations, and how communities continue to care and protect one another when their normal ways of doing so are impossible.

Working with a population for which anonymity is paramount created interesting challenges for LeFebvre. Her background as a fine artist comes into play here through work that renders the images and words of the people she documents in ways that still protect their privacy and the specifics of their stories.

A native of Durham, LeFebvre has worked in a range of media to explore various themes, including transience, identity, interpersonal connection, and home. In 2013 LeFebvre became a mother to identical twins and her work pivoted to focus on their shared hometown. Her work from 2014 to present has largely focused on documenting the changing landscape of Durham. Awarded the 2015 Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artist Award in support of her “Hometown (Inherited)” project, LeFebvre has created a large body of mixed media pieces that serve to capture and preserve fleeting moments in this time of ever-escalating environmental transformation. The work has been shown in half a dozen solo exhibits in such spaces as Through This Lens, The Durham Arts Council, and the The Triangle Community Foundations. Pieces from this series can be found in collections both public and private. In 2017, LeFebvre was selected to partner with Duke’s Bull City 150 project and create work for their public history exhibition “Uneven Ground: The Foundations of Housing Inequality in Durham.” A recipient of the 2019 David and Elizabeth Roderick Scholarship Award at Duke University, LeFebvre is working to expand her ability to tell complex and powerful stories through a blending of analog approaches and experimental media.