Arts Mid-Hudson Blog
Emancipation of the Mind, Linda Marston-Reid, Executive Director of Arts Mid-Hudson
This January 21 we pause to celebrate the work of Martin Luther King, Jr., whose lifetime achievements brought the civil rights movement to the forefront of change during the 1950’s and 1960’s. The movement continues today and the current exhibit at the Arts Mid-Hudson Gallery in Poughkeepsie, “Emancipation of the Mind,” remembers history and examines modern issues on this theme. Featuring the work of 16 artists, this exhibit provides a stage for their artistic interpretations through paintings, poetry, sculpture and writing. The work was selected by visual artist and storyteller, Willie Mae Brown, who was born and raised in Selma, Alabama, during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Brown has written eight stories of her life during this time and will read from one of those stories to give the audience a look into the past as she remembers it as a child. Brown commented, “Our stories free us and allow us to reach into the hearts of others and give them freedom to speak as well.”
The exhibition’s artworks tell stories derived from the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement, such as Audrey Anastasi’s painting, “Isaac Woodard (Man With No Eyes),” and Kali Seastrand’s, “We Shall Overcome,” with a portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr. worked into the composition. Amy Trompetter exhibits her larger-than-life-size puppet of Sojourner Truth, reminding us about the importance of storytelling as a way to memorize history.
There is a broad representation of sculptural work positing on justice and equity in contemporary society, including Ruth Geneslaw’s two pieces, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and “Justice is Served.” Geneslaw’s folk-art approach somewhat softens the hard message that each piece delivers. Tracy Leavitt’s “Failing to Trickle Down” depicts a gold-plated figure at the top of a pinnacle, where small figures gather at the bottom in a seemingly futile attempt to rise above. Suprina exhibits “Placate,” a wall-mounted sculpture that suggests that the worker voices are inconsequential. Pam Krimsky’s “Behind Bars” speaks to the fact of racial disparities in the American justice system. Riva Weinstein exhibits “Tatters of Rights,” a piece that sums up the spirit behind the exhibit in full: a wire hanger with clothes pins holding ripped white strips listing human rights, women’s rights, worker’s rights—actually, all of our rights—in shreds. Basha Ruth Nelson’s works allude to a similar idea: pretty artworks torn and crumpled presented in an ornate gold frame.
Barbara Masterson exhibits two from her series focusing on farm laborers, who work in the fields to produce the abundant harvests we all enjoy, often working in brutal conditions. A video of Poet Gold’s poem, “What Would Martin Say?” will be playing on a continuous loop in the gallery. The last few words of her poem bring us to where we are today: “There’s still work to be done, we can’t deny.”
Details: “Emancipation of the Mind” is on exhibit January 11 – February 24, 2019; Arts Mid-Hudson Gallery, 696 Dutchess Turnpike Suite F, Poughkeepsie, 845 454-3222, www.artsmidhudson.org. Sunday, February 24: Art Brunch – a special closing event where artists will discuss their work and attendees will enjoy performances and a light brunch: 1 p.m. -3 p.m.
About the column:
Arts Mid-Hudson has served up fresh arts and culture across the region for over 54 years. This biweekly series of columns showcases arts, artists’ work and arts events across the region presented with the support of Arts Mid-Hudson. For information about its services, events and grant opportunities visit www.artsmidhudson.org, call 845-454-3222 or email [email protected].