Songs of Freedom
Songs of Freedom, a show of two and three-dimensional mixed media artworks, video, photography and performance by 10 artists (nine women and one man–a self-proclaimed feminist) opens at the JCC Harlem on Wednesday, September 13. Art In FLUX curators, Leanne Stella and Henone Girma, brought together a group of artists that each use their own experiences and observations to address notions of femininity and female empowerment.
The use of repurposed materials, fabric in Tomo Mori’s Our Little People and wire hangers in Autumn Kioti’s Red Hen (impossible standard) and the painstaking handiwork in each speaks to the resilience and resourcefulness women require to navigate the “modern” world. Our Little People represents the interconnected female bonds that protect voiceless and vulnerable children while the Red Hen performance and installation piece makes a grim yet humorous reference to the expectations surrounding 21st Century womanhood. Lital Dotan’s Transformation on Rockhill (video) and Qinza Najm’s Stretched (mixed media) both depict in their own way how women stretch themselves beyond external limitations and preconceived standards to survive and ultimately flourish. Rejin Leys and Leslie Jimenez paint in a performative piece that can only be completed when they unite in the center. The photographic diptych, Female Empowerment and Blue Building by Ruben Natal-San Miguel shouts shattering the glass ceiling. Hirut Yosef, Tara Sabharwal and Sara Jimenez present a combination of figurative and architectural two-dimensional works that also speak to societal structures surrounding women.
The artists collectively weave a story about the challenges women and girls face and the individual and communal strength it takes to stretch beyond clear and abstract restraints. All of the works in Songs Of Freedom are by women in a world where the constant need to protect, nurture, succeed, excel and fight (for gender parity) all co-exist.