Art Exhibitions Spark Dialogue
- 1 November 2022
- Posted By Ellen Muse-Lindeman
Looking back on our 2022 season, it is clear that art has an amazing ability to spark dialogue. Though we are a small community art center, the exhibitions we present are reflective of world events and social issues that impact many people worldwide. Art has an effect on viewers, and discussions are started by what they see in our galleries.
Tina Gutierrez’s The Coronavirus Wearable Art Response Project, a selection of over 100 photography portraits taken in 2020 and 2021, displayed how our local community navigated the global Covid pandemic. Participants were asked to respond with clothing, costume, or other wearable art to express how they felt about the coronavirus, quarantine, and social distancing. Some displayed personal empowerment, and in many cases, gathered strength through objects and adornments. For others, garments of beauty helped them feel reconnected to the world.
“For many, Covid-19 led to isolation and loneliness. For me, this work is about embracing rather than resisting sadness, loss and discomfort using the creative process. Wearable art allows these emotions to be expressed in a non-verbal, yet extremely powerful visual language. This time of Covid-19 challenges us all, and the act of creating art as a response can be a healing act,” remarked Tina Gutierrez.
Tina strongly believes that the camera is a tool for change. She works to create images that show the beauty of humanity and also give hope and promote healing in individuals and communities. Her exhibit was a celebration of human strength, a commentary on community support, and a reflection on how, even three years later, we are still healing together.
Last summer, curator Saad Ghosn (SOS ART) once again gathered an amazing collection of artworks from another country, opening up our world and sharing another culture through various printmaking techniques. Voices from Czechia (Czech Republic) was the third biennial exhibit organized and curated by SOS ART in partnership with Kennedy Heights Arts Center featuring prints from countries with a rich tradition in printmaking (first being Oaxaca/Mexico and second being Lebanon).
The purpose of these “Voices from…” exhibits and events is to share with the Cincinnati public art from different cultures where artists use their artwork as a voice to reflect on their life, culture, beliefs, and the problems they face as a society – heightening SOS ART’s goal to promote the arts as vehicles for peace and justice, and for a better world. Through a coinciding festival, the area residents exposed to various cultural aspects of that country through music, dance, poetry, and food.
“Sharing the art of printmakers from the Czech Republic with the Cincinnati community contributes to cultural exchange and illustrates the power of art as the artist’s voice for a better world,” remarked Ghosn.
Examining humans’ contribution to climate change, What’s Left Behind, our FotoFocus 2022 exhibition, asked local photographers to explore how what we consume, what we collect, and what we discard affects the environment we live in and our lives in the greater context. What we discard exposes our attitudes towards consumption, class, mobility, sustainability, and the environment. Works by 40 local artists made us question what record we are leaving behind for future generations. Mountains of trash speak to a disposable and materialistic society. However, works also highlighted human’s attachment to objects containing personal memories and significance. This moving exhibit full of subtleties made viewers think about our society’s habits and priorities, the disposability of not only things, but also people and animals, and inequalities around the world.
These exhibitions encouraged important conversations about social issues of our time. Through showcasing local, national, and international artists with a variety of voices, it allows us all to take a deeper look at our world. We can only strive to improve our lives and the lives of others by examining our world, asking difficult questions, and discussing it together.
Luckily, artwork can help us do just that.