(Image Left to Right) Sarah O’Donoghue, Justice For Bre; Ali Francis Garcia, Missing: Lady Justice
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About the Exhibition
“Creativity is the power to act” – Ai Weiwei
The New Art Center stands in solidarity with Black and Brown members of our community to fight systematic racism. We invite you to make systemic change with us through art. For more than 500 years, Protest Posters have been profound visual icons for social justice, and have served as a call to action for societal change.
The exhibition will be included on the New Art Center’s home screen at www.newartcenter.org from July 17 – August 31, 2020. It will then be archived on the website under Exhibitions.
Guest Curator: Ibrahim Ali-Salaam
Letter from the Curator
The New Art Center recently launched a show entitled “Peaceful Protest” with the intention to shed light on recent acts of violence against Black and brown people across the US and society’s reaction. I was honored to be the inaugural curator for this ambitious project.
The pieces of original artwork submitted were created by local and national artists of all ages (from elementary age and up). The work could be in the medium of the artist’s choosing, with the knowledge that the work would end up presented digitally. The New Art Center wanted a wide audience to be able to view the work and see how artists were reacting to the Black Lives Matter protests.
Many young local artists submitted work addressing issues such as justice for all and the Black Lives Matter movement. Artists from as far away as the Midwest and Puerto Rico submitted work as well.
Though most of the submissions did plainly and directly address the issues of police brutality and equality for all, I am reminded of the work of Shepard Fairey’s “Hope” poster, Banksy’s “Rage the Flower Thrower”, and the strong expressionist paintings of Jean-Michel Basquiat, such as “La Hara”. My hope is that artists in my community and at large will continue to create work with a strong clear message, pushing the ideas of equality and fairness for all with a hope for strength and positivity in the future.
Behind the scenes of such a call for art as the one above, we can imagine that artists are grappling with issues (either in their own lives, or coming to terms with the concepts) of systemic racism, white fragility and the inequality that people of color have experienced for over 400 years in the US. This means that there is most likely significantly more emotion and complexity beneath the surface in such artwork than what we are seeing on the surface. Yet often, as we see in the pieces in this show, our first steps on a journey may appear simple, but can be the hardest ones to take. These pieces of artwork are a first step. I look forward to where the artists and our society takes us in the months and years to come.
About Ibrahim Ali-Salaam
Ibrahim Ali-Salaam is a Boston based artist and has been working professionally since 2001. A graduate from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Ibrahim works in charcoal and oils and his art is primarily figurative in nature and focuses on investigating identity.
Judith Ellen Sanders
Ali Francis Garcia
Melanie L Ducharme
Iris Susana De la Sota