Art Collective organized the pop-up gallery Predominantly White Spaces on Oct. 21-23 at the Observatory. The gallery was directed and curated by Michy Woodward ’17 and coordinated by Kenneth Lopez ’17 and is a collaborative project among student artists of color. Artists included Alex Akiwumi ’19, Merisa Dion ’17, Mimi Do ’17, Anne Homans ’19, Ana Castro Reynoso ‘17, Djinnie Timoleon ’17, Katherine Wang ’17 and Anjanae Williams ’18.
“The Observatory makes a great exhibition space since it is away from the predominantly white Hamilton campus,” said Irene Lin ’17, co-president of Art Collective and producer of Predominantly White Spaces. “This gallery forces the audience to go beyond the bubble of Hamilton since they have to go up the Hill to a spot that is almost off-campus. After all, art is about journeying through and travelling,” added Cesar Renero ’17, co-treasurer of Art Collective.
“It’s hard for people of color to achieve self-recognition,” said Lin. She added that the main value of the gallery is to enable students of color to relate to the represented experiences and feel comfortable with expressing their voices on campus.
“It’s unfair that students of color are constantly expected to act as educators of their own culture and lived experience to other people,” said Lin. She clarified that the gallery is constructed as a radiant white zone that symbolizes the “predominantly white power dynamics” and that is meant to be shattered in real life to give students of color more freedom to express themselves freely regardless of any expectations from society.
According to Lin, John Powell, the studio arts operations manager at the Kennedy Arts Center, helped extensively with constructing the gallery space. The artworks encompassed varied media: photography, drawing, new media and sculpture. “The small size of the gallery offers an intimate space for viewers to discuss the artworks and experience them closely,” said Merisa Dion.
“The gallery is an initiative to offer people interested in arts the opportunity to exhibit their work,” added Dion. Lin noted that most of the student artists are seniors, yet it is the first time they’ve exhibited their work on campus, suggesting that more opportunities are needed for exhibiting students’ artworks.
On the opening night about 80 visitors came to the gallery. “The gallery is meant to urge students to exchange experiences related to racial identity and extend dialogue about this on campus,” Dion concluded.