Art, Politics, Action!
This our last blog post about the four exhibitions within REPRISE: 40 to the Fore. InterActivism is co-curated by John James Anderson, an artist in the 2008 exhibition Picturing Politics: Artists Speak to Power (you can read about the original show here). The show focuses on the ways artists address political issues and incorporate activism into their art.
The four artists in show, Gabriela Bulisova, Eric Gottesman, Siobhan Rigg, and Danielle Scruggs discuss four different contemporary social issues from incarceration, AIDS, labor issues and victims of violence.
Gabriela Bulisova brings attention to the high incarceration rate in the United States and specifically, in Washington DC in TIME ZONE. Bulisova presents photography documenting the life of Lashonia Etheridge-Bey, a woman who spent half of her life in prison for the murder of two women. While Etheridge-Bey quickly transitioned back into society, the photographs emphasize how other parts of readjusting- rebuilding relationships, accepting her past- are more difficult.
Eric Gottesman collaborated with Sudden Flowers, a collective of 25 children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to produce “mask”, Yabat Ida Le Lij. While writing scripts about their lives which are in some way affected by AIDS, one of the children suggested they do something “with a different feel, something that shows a different part of our lives.” So, the students held a laughing contest. At AAC, footage of the laughing contest is shown alongside the films about the children’s lives. The contrast offers interesting insight into the lives of those affected by AIDS.
Siobhan Rigg holds cheese curd-making workshops as part of the project Too Big to Fail! The workshops reference a historical event in 1808, when a town in Massachusetts made a Mammoth Cheese wheel and presented it to honor President Thomas Jefferson. Rigg uses historical events to bring current social issues into view such as labor issues, minimum wage, and food production.
Danielle Scruggs brings attention to the large number of people who have died in similar ways to Trayvon Martin in her series of portraits of fifteen victims. Although Scruggs usually uses photography as her primary medium, her hand-illustrated drawings on vellum suggest the fragility and intimacy of life and prompts viewers to ask how and why these people died.
Save the date! Saturday, Sept. 6 from 1 pm to 4 pm we will host a gallery talk featuring the artists and curators for Home(again) and AIDS Unanswered. Come to hear from the artists and curators, stay to mingle with them over wine and cheese.
written by AAC Summer Intern Shelley O’Conor