Review: ‘She Speaks’ exhibit in Gallery Aferro’s Activate Market Street installation
by Brick City Live art contributor | May 1, 2017
“I see your life as already artful, just waiting for you to make it art.”
This quote from Nobel Laureate writer Toni Morrison discusses the process of artist activating their energy to create magic in their work. And that magic can be seen at Gallery Aferro: Activate Market Street 10 in Newark.
The show “She Speaks” is three installations by three artists: Mollie Thonneson, Patricia Arias-Reynolds and Adebunmi Gbadebo. Each installation focuses on the momentum and unity of different cultures in leading the conversation ignited by the Million Woman March, a protest march organized on October 25, 1997, on Benjamin Franklin Park Way in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
As the political climate of our culture continues to be stirred by the voices of our women throughout the country through activism and protest, there are some that have used this time in history as a unifying opportunity. The “She Speaks” show does exactly that.
In one window, Mollie Thonneson’s installation creates fabric sculptures. The strength in these undoubtedly feminine forms are in their beauty and also in their numbers. By filling the space with these light, transparent objects that shimmer and sway in the slightest breeze, it seduces the viewer into contemplating not only the fragility of life, but the power women gain when they stand together.
Another installation is inspired by Patricia Arias-Reynold’s Latino culture: religious influences and nature are the key inspirations. Paper flowers attached to hemp string that are hung from a wooden vineyard-like structure are at the forefront of a digitally manipulated portrait images of Latina icons Frida Kahlo, Celia Cruz and Selena. The work manifests an internal energy that plays with life and death, and the crafted paper flowers carry on in each icon’s spirit.
The third installation is by artist Adebunmi Gbadebo. This work focuses on her African-American culture, history and identity. The material is human hair; the material is her people. It’s dripping with DNA, which makes it tangible information and a substance that has been alternately glorified and debased. The sculptures are alive. Gbadebo not only found a way to let the people be the art. Now the people are a part of the process.
“She Speaks” is magical, pushing, and expanding in these extraordinary times. In this time of magical women coming to the forefront and reclaiming their cultural and sometimes emotional pasts. you would be remiss to not take this opportunity to see and feel this energy through the art of “She Speaks.” Catch the exhibit at Gallery Aferro, 73 Market Street, through June 17th.
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