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An Examination of Humanity
March 6 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Statements by the Artists: Akinbo Akinnuoye & Rochelle Shicoff:
When you look at photos in newspapers and magazines featuring tragedy at home and abroad, how do you feel? Is it real for you? Can you relate? Are they things that just happen elsewhere to other people? Do you feel overwhelmed about the frequency of these events? Do natural disaster movies seem like more fact than fiction. What words would you use to describe these events?
With the ever increasing man-made and environmental violence in many parts of the world—through genocide, terrorism, and climate change (floods, fire, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.)—the usual descriptions surrounding these events seem redundant (“horrible,” “what a shame,” “those poor people,” “someone should do something.”)
I chose to change the conversation by using hyperbolic, bombastic, over-the-top superlative language from “pull quotes” in movie reviews to shake up our sensitivities and reactions to these events. These quotes are intentionally used to entice the audience, giving a sense of urgency to the picture advertised in front of them. The disaster movie is real, it’s happening around us…
My latest painting series about the empowerment of Palestinian women has emerged from my compassion for their circumstances and celebration of their resilience.
In 1980, I was awarded the Rome Prize Fellowship in Painting and spent an extended period of time in Egypt. From my artist’s view point, Egypt’s architecture, ancient tomb carvings and paintings, pottery markets, camels, and the people in their flowing garments left an everlasting impression on me. My long standing interest in Middle Eastern culture and my residing part time in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn where my neighbors are primarily from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Palestine has influenced my two painting series about the Middle East. As I developed the images in this latest painting series, I began to create miniature scenes at the tops to further describe the Palestinian women’s dignity, the soldiers, architecture, and in one instance, camel legs. Middle Eastern cultures have a profusion of patterns, which I include in these paintings.
My art process is about problem solving and the interaction between colors, shapes and lines. I think that all work created on one subject, over an extended period of time, unites and intensifies the concept and imagery.