Bronx River Art Center’s exhibition covey needed love, support, and voices in the wake of this global pandemic.
The Bronx River Art Center (BRAC) featured the art exhibition Justice curated by Juanita Lanzo. Each artist’s creation explores the experience, struggle, hope, resilience, and social injustice intensified during Covid-19.
Laura Alvarez created X and Y chromosome motif paintings that mirror all people are the same. Alvarez is fascinated by the complications of human DNA. It is more than cells that divide to create life. She questions what does identity means. What are the connotations based on given labels? How it depends on where you were born and how were you raised? There are many layers to a person, and you cannot put people into different groups. Watching the pandemic, protesters, and police brutality unfolding as she worked on her creations, she reflected that we are all people at the end of the day.
“Why can’t we see people as people instead of seeing someone as different or by the color of their skin. It doesn’t make sense to me. Creating [these paintings] helps me process what is happening in the world. I chose bright colors because colors reflect the state of people and how bright people’s souls are.”
Tijay Mohammed‘s installation appears as a web-like sculpture of masks. It is a collaboration with the community’s voice about their experience during the pandemic. The public inscribed each mask to present their messages about the changes brought upon this year regarding the black lives matter movement, politics, police brutality, loss, death, family, hope, pain, gratitude, and joy. It aims to educate, inspire words of hope through solidarity and comfort to fulfill dreams and justice. Some masks are coated with different colors of glitter. The colorful glitter adds on is a symbolic form of healing.
“It’s about honoring everyone who connects to the Black Lives Movement. It is unity, womanhood, our community, LGBTQ, and everyone living below the standards of how they should live.”
Tammy Wofsey’s black and white linoleum prints examine health care issues, classism, and environmental problems. The prints are derived from her artist book, “Soil and Water.” Wofsey reminds us that soil is everything and non-renewable. If you cannot grow anything, you don’t have access to healthy food. Inspired by “Keep the Aspidistra Flying” by George Orwell. She created the aspidistra as a double helix. The aspidistra plant is a symbol of the middle class. The aspidistra indicates making it to the middle class and questioning how can you be in the middle class and not have adequate health insurance in America.
“You need to step back and think about things for yourself. Take that information and figure out what is true to yourself, not what you are constantly fed to the media. That is what art is. It gives you space to feel and think for yourself.”
Rejin Leys’ mixed media installation and painting is an English and Kreyol number book. Crafted during the pandemic with the support from the Haiti Cultural Exchange. His creations are layers of words and images that incorporate social issues, cultures, and creativity.
This exhibition modeled essential compassion and encouragement, and its art is here to voice it.