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LIZETTE CHIRRIME in OkayAfrica

18 May

Mozambique

Spotlight

Spotlight: Mozambican Lizette Chirrime On Stumbling Into Artistry

Zee Ngema

Mozambican artist Lizette Chirrime

Photo courtesy of the artist 

Chirrime’s latest exhibition, Rituals for Soul Search embodies the artist’s desire to bring audience members closer to nature, the Universe, and their souls.

In our ‘Spotlight‘ series, we highlight the work of photographers, visual artists, multimedia artists, and more who are producing vibrant, original work.

In our latest piece, we spotlight Mozambican textile artistLizette ChirrimeThe self-taught multidisciplinary artist channels her trauma and longing to be whole through her artwork. “These abstract forms evoke the human body and my identity-responsive practice where I refashion my self-image and transcend a painful upbringing that left me shattered and broken. I literally ‘re-stitched’ myself together. These liberated ‘souls’ are depicted ‘dancing’ on the canvas, bringing to mind, well-dressed African women celebrating”, Chirrime says in her own words. The artist uses her creations to communicate the beauty in simplicity, and the divinity of being African.

We spoke with the Chirrime about accidentally finding her medium of choice, using color to express emotions, and focusing your energy on being awesome.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Describe your background as an artist and the journey you’ve taken to get it to where it is today.

When I started, I had no idea that I was an artist. I loved to create beautiful environments wherever I went, and when people noticed, they began giving me that title. I was using techniques that deviated from what was common at the time, particularly working with recycled materials, which I think situated me as a creative within my communities.

What are the central themes in your work?

Womanhood, Mother Earth, love, awesomeness, and spirituality.

How did you decide on using textiles to express your art?

It all started when I began working with hessian fabric, mainly, deciding to change the way it was treated in many houses. I gave it more life and a better look, and when the healing was done, I moved on to colorful fabrics in search of joy and life.

In the early 2000s, I began working with scrap materials, having been compelled to create a doll from textiles one evening. I fell in love with the medium and haven’t stopped creating since, though the way in which I utilize textiles continues to evolve.

Can you talk about your use of colors and symbolism in your art?

I use the colors I do — shades of red, blue, and green — because they remind me of beauty. They’re the vehicles I use to both express my feelings and describe certain narratives behind my expression. Symbolically, I look to nature for inspiration and translate the environment around me into symbols within my pieces. Looking to nature helps to find one’s place within the universe, and I want to help people see the value in slowness and simplicity. I hope that my work helps people appreciate how miraculous our planet is and inspires them to heal the earth from destruction.

How has the pandemic affected you creatively?

I relocated to Mozambique during the pandemic, after living in South Africa for many years, and have felt an incredible shift in my capacity to be present. Being removed from a city and with a slower pace of life, I’ve been able to reconnect with myself and have a direct conversation with my spirit and soul, which directly feeds into my work and the current ideas which I’m exploring.

Luckily, I didn’t feel very affected by the pandemic because I’ve had a few sponsors and continued to sell my artwork through that time. Though I didn’t sell as much as I did prior, I still managed to pay my bills, eat and create — I’m thankful to have met my needs as an artist.

Image courtesy of the artist

African Single Mother, 2021

Available Artwork by LIZETTE CHIRRIME

Mozambican textile artist LIZETTE CHIRRIME speaks to her inspiration and art practice

2 May

Video credit: Jarrett Hendrix

Working primarily with recycled materials, Lizette Chirrime’s practice has a marked foundation in personal and traditional spirituality. Chirrime describes her creative process as “a prayer to the Universe”–an intention to heal the earth from overconsumption, pollution and greed. Sourcing scrap materials from her environment and immediate communities, Chirrime uses fabric, burlap, rope, paint, beads, leather and more to produce dynamic collages that speak to African womanhood, and more broadly, the human condition. Finding inspiration in the natural world–the vastness of the ocean, the hues of the sunrise, the evolution of a storm–Chirrime’s pieces are layered with a poetic consideration for what she calls “the essence of life.”

Her solo exhibition “Rituals for Soul Search” is on view at Morton Fine Art in Washington, DC by appointment through May 22, 2022.

Visit http://www.mortonfineart.com to view available artwork by LIZETTE CHIRRIME.

ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY’s solo “Descartes Died in the Snow” featured in On Paper Journal of The Washington Print Club

28 Apr

Available Artwork by ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY

New Arrivals | Sculpted Paintings by JENNY WU

16 Apr

Jenny Wu transforms liquid paint into sculpture built from layers of latex paint poured on glass, color over color, to form a thick cake-like aggregate. Once dried, the material is cut into small brick-like forms and assembled in vibrant patterns on a flat surface, revealing in cross-section the varied strata of paint from the pouring and layering process. Like geological formations, Wu’s method of building up paint is dependent on time, repetition and chance with her resulting objects uniting chaos and order into a systematic imagery that blurs the boundaries between painting and sculpture.

Jenny Wu
2+ Year Long Middle School Dodgeball Game, 2022
latex paint and resin on wood panel
20 x 10 x 2.50 in
Jenny Wu
Adults Were Not Okay, 2021
latex paint and resin on wood panel
20 x 16 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Meaningful Access, 2020
latex paint and resin on wood panel
20 x 16 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Carefully Editing An Email Response, 2021
latex paint and resin on wood panel
24 x 18 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Hardly A Mandate, 2021
latex paint and resin on wood panel
20 x 16 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Have Always Existed and Will Always Exist, 2022
latex paint and resin on wood panel
36 x 24 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Letting Referees Openly Bet On Games, 2021
latex paint and resin on wood panel
36 x 24 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Live In #DontLookUp, 2022
latex paint and resin on wood panel
18 x 18 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Too Heavy to Carry to the British Museum, 2022
latex paint and resin on wood panel
20 x 16 x 2.50 in

Jenny Wu
Got Scared & Bought It, 2021
latex paint and resin on wood panel
20 x 20 x 2.50 in

About the Artist:

Jenny Wu was born in Nanjing, China. She holds a B.A. from William Smith College in Studio Art as well as in Architectural Studies, and an M.F.A. in Studio Art from American University. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums including Denise Bibro Fine Art, Katzen Museum, Huntington Museum of Art, Reece Museum, Vilnius Academy of Arts in Lithuania, and CICA Museum in South Korea. Wu has participated in numerous Artist-In-Residence programs across the country; and has been awarded fellowships from Vermont Studio Center and the Pollock Krasner Foundation. She has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2021.

Available artwork by JENNY WU.

New “Not Geo” Collages by LISA MYERS BULMASH

23 Mar
LISA MYERS BULMASH, Not Geo : Woman, 2022, 12″x9″, ink, hand-marbled and rice paper collage on watercolor paper

Seattle-based artist LISA MYERS BULMASH writes on her new series “Not Geo”:

Sifting through vintage images of Black people can be hazardous to your mental health – if
you’re not prepared for what you might see. Even well-executed illustrations carry racist
baggage. The cover story, if you will, was that scientists were studying anthropological “types” in
the same way Charles Darwin might have drawn animal fossils. This kind of reasoning
continued well into the 20 th century. That’s how National Geographic magazine justified
publishing nude photos of people of color, for more than 100 years.

LISA MYERS BULMASH, Not Geo : Braiding, 12″x9″, ink, hand-marbled and rice paper collage on watercolor paper
LISA MYERS BULMASH, Not Geo : Sitting Man, 2022, 12″x9″, ink, hand-marbled and rice paper collage on watercolor paper

The “Not Geo” series of collages is a play on National Geographic’s nickname, Nat Geo. Rather
than perpetuating stereotypes, however, I’ve decided to rehab them with contemporary collage
elements. Each person’s image is highlighted with marbled paper, elevating their presence
much like actual marble does for classical sculpture. Delicate rice paper fragments and
watercolors add a contrasting softness. My hope is that a touch of irony and humor will help
restore some dignity to people once reduced to specimens. – LISA MYERS BULMASH

LISA MYERS BULMASH, Not Geo : Girl, 2022, 12″x9″, ink, hand-marbled and rice paper collage on watercolor paper
LISA MYERS BULMASH, Not Geo : Crossed Arms, 2022, 12″x9″, ink, hand-marbled and rice paper collage on watercolor paper

Available artwork by LISA MYERS BULMASH

ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY’s solo exhibition of experimental printmaking “Descartes Died in the Snow”

15 Mar

Video credit: Jarrett Hendrix

Morton Fine Art is pleased to present Descartes Died in the Snow, a solo exhibition showcasing work by Washington, D.C.-based artist Rosemary Feit Covey, on view from March 3–March 31, 2022. Marking both the debut of new work and the reactivation of older works, the exhibition uncovers new dimensions within the artist’s vast oeuvre. Taken as a whole, this collection of work illuminates the fragility of life on our embattled planet, recognizing the catastrophic ecological losses that mark our current era while turning a hopeful eye towards altogether new horizons.

Covey’s current focus on environmental concerns is informed by 20 years of collaborations with scientists, during which biology, ecology, and mortality have remained steady themes of the artist’s practice. The past three decades have seen the artist rise as an established wood engraver, followed in recent years by an expansion towards mediums including experimental printmaking and mixed media. From the replication of the printmaking process to the carving of the printing block, Covey’s works attend to personal analogies of physical and emotional fortitude; through the manipulation of absence and presence, lightness and darkness, the artist evokes a darker psychological sensibility within complex figural representations.

While maintaining the artist’s long-standing engagement with psychologically challenging—and oftentimes troubling—subject matter, the diversification of Covey’s mediums highlights the artist’s continued innovation in the arenas of both technique and narrative. In a titular nod to the life and work of 17th century philosopher René Descartes, Descartes Died in the Snow reflects Covey’s own artistic philosophy, that of art-as-exploration. In admiration of Descartes’ unfettered curiosity and his resulting great lengths of inquiry, Covey draws parallels with the experimental potential of artistic practice. “We artists can apply logic and intellectual research, then throw it all to the winds, allowing for alchemy and the unconscious to cross-pollinate with the natural sciences as we create,” Covey says.

Moved by recent climate disaster scenarios in South Africa—the country of her birth—Covey’s most recent work responds to the fleeting nature of news cycles and the failure of journalistic channels to manifest sustained public awareness of such crucial issues. Having witnessed this subject matter quickly fall from the front pages, Covey understands her work to serve as an enduring reminder of environmental crises within a global consciousness. Of this profound responsibility as an artist in the present moment, Covey affirms, “In this manner, I am committed to using my skills to portray this delicate balance as we reach a precipice.”

Through delicate lines that comprise masterful compositions, Covey’s work operates at the intersections of beauty and terror, depicting melancholy aesthetics of mourning. From a mass of opalescent strokes, Covey’s Broken Earth (2020) pictures a heap of carcesses, inspired by Covey’s horror of an imagined parched earth. Elsewhere, blooms of pigment suggest oil spills, and falling petals hint at impending decay. Through a push and pull, characterized by sensorial enticement segueing into gripping existential inquiry, the artist’s foreboding imagery unmasks that which is hidden in plain sight.

ABOUT ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Rosemary Feit Covey received degrees from Cornell University and the Maryland Institute College of Art, eventually relocating to Washington, D.C., where she currently lives and works. Covey has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2010.

Covey has exhibited widely throughout the United States and abroad, including group exhibitions at the National Collection of Fine Arts and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Solo exhibitions of her work have been staged at The Butler Institute of American Art; The Delaware Contemporary; the International Museum of Surgical Science; and the Evergreen Museum at Johns Hopkins University. Works by the artist are held in more than forty major museum and library collections worldwide, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art; New York Public Library Print Collection; National Museum of American History; Harvard University; and the Papyrus Institute in Cairo, Egypt.

Across various mediums, Covey has been commissioned by General Electric Astro Space, the National Institute of Science, Georgetown University, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, among other institutions and organizations. Covey’s literary illustrations have been commissioned and published by Simon & Schuster and William Morrow. She is the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship and Alpha Delta Kappa Foundation National Fine Art Award, and was the 2007–2008 Artist-in-Residence at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Available Artwork by ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY

NATHANIEL DONNETT | Backpack Exchange Project | MCLA Arts and Culture

5 Mar

Artist Brings Backpack Exchange for New Project

By

 Jillian Currier

 –

March 2, 2022

Nathaniel Donnett, current ART LAB Artist in Residence, is bringing students together with a backpack exchange. Used backpacks given to Donnett will be featured in his new art project.

MCLA Arts and Culture is welcoming Nathaniel Donnett, the current ART LAB Artist in Residence, to bring students together in a backpack exchange. Students participating in the exchange will give up their old backpacks to be used in a unique art piece done by Donnett.

“Generally, when you have a backpack, it’s usually moving along with a body and carrying some kind of information. It also has a history based on the relationship with the person who’s attached to it. That kind of history is attached to the object— the backpack,” Donnett said in an interview with The Beacon.

The backpack exchange not only involves the student’s old backpack to be used in the new 2-D piece, but it also involves a yearbook-style photo of the student as well as quick questions asked by Donnett to help access the past, present, and future regarding the student and the piece itself.

The idea behind using backpacks for these pieces stems from an older project that Donnett worked on in Houston, which involved the idea behind objects as symbols, and the symbolism that something as simple as a backpack can carry. The yearbook-style photos are taken along with the exchange of the backpacks to be used in an archival ‘yearbook’ encapsulating the project and the student’s involvement.

“I thought it would be interesting that the book wouldn’t be something that would just be for me,” Donnett explained. He went on to say that the yearbook would be a way to expand his outreach of the project through the participating students, as well as creating something that the students can look back on.

Donnett focused on backpack exchanges as well in Houston, with the idea of objects being symbols as the driving force. He explained how after once seeing a backpack hung over a fence, it made him realize just how many meanings a simple object could convey.

“This time I wanted to get more activity from the spaces where the students are from, which is why I wanted to go to the schools,” said Donnett. The project in Houston kept the backpacks in one piece, but Donnett wanted to take it further and create something that transforms the backpacks, while also leaving a piece of them behind for the students.

The finished pieces of the backpacks will be on display at Gallery 51 in downtown North Adams at the end of Donnett’s residency with ART LAB, which will open in October of 2022.
Nicholas Rigger, the program coordinator for MAC, explained that all ART LAB Artists in Residence have the opportunity for a solo show at the gallery. The yearbook documenting the students’ experiences and photos for the piece will be archived in the library as well.

As for student’s potential hesitance, Donnett explained that “it’s just something that has to be experienced.” He went on to say that every experience he’s had with a student during the exchange so far has just been fun and eye opening to see students trip up when engaged about their past.

“The idea of just reflecting on some of the questions and thinking about it in a different way is interesting, and to see all these different voices come together in a kind of object is also interesting to find where you are in the piece,” Donnett explained.

“To know that a part of you is now something more, and to gain some sort of perspective…” Rigger said, is why students should be open to this experience and interested in collaborating.

The backpack exchange is available to students in the Campus Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Any student that is interested that is not available during those times or wants to participate after March 1 can visit Gallery 51 or can reach out to either Nathaniel Donnett or Nicholas Rigger.

Available artwork by NATHANIEL DONNETT

AMBER ROBLES-GORDON | KATHERINE TZU-LAN MANN | Semifinalists for Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize

2 Mar

Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) proudly announces the semifinalists for the 17th annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize. This year’s panel of esteemed jurors — Catherine Morris, Jean Shin, and Kambui Olujimi — have selected 13 visual artists for the semifinal round. Semifinalists will be asked to share an expanded submission including up to 30 images or time-based works and a description of how they will use the fellowship if they are selected

Three of these semifinalists will then be selected for final review for the prize and their work will be exhibited in the Walters Art Museum beginning in July 2022. This year, the prestigious prize will award $30,000 to a visual artist or visual artist collaborators living and working in the Baltimore region. BOPA will also be awarding two residencies to finalists not selected for the Sondheim Art Prize: a six-week, fully funded residency at Civitella Ranieri in the Umbria region of Italy, and a six-month residency at the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower in Baltimore.

Civitella Ranieri (www.civitella.org) is a residency program for international writers, composers, and visual artists. Since 1995, Civitella has hosted more than 1,000 Fellows and Director’s Guests. The Center enables its Fellows to pursue their work and to exchange ideas in a unique and inspiring setting. The Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower has been transformed into studio spaces for visual and literary artists. Located at 21 S. Eutaw Street in the heart of the Bromo Arts & Entertainment District, the 15-story city landmark is the ideal location for artists to explore their practice.

The 2022 Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize Semifinalists:
Tommy Bobo – Washington, DC
Marybeth Chew – Baltimore, MD
Susan Crawford – Baltimore, MD
Andrew Gray – Baltimore, MD
Maren Henson – Baltimore, MD
Megan Koeppel – Baltimore, MD
Travis Levasseur – Baltimore, MD
Katherine Mann – Washington, DC
David Page – Baltimore, MD
Mojdeh Rezaeipour – Washington, DC
Amber Robles-Gordon – Washington, DC
Katiana Weems – Baltimore, MD
James Williams II – Baltimore, MD


The finalists’ exhibition will be on view at the Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles Street, beginning in July. Admission to the exhibition is free. The day the exhibiton opens, the jurors will meet with each artist for up to 30 minutes in their exhibition space for a final interview. After the interviews, the jurors will meet and decide the prize winner and the recipient of each residency. The awards will be announced later that evening at the award reception.

In the case of COVID-19 restrictions not allowing for in-person exhibitions, BOPA will utilize the online platform Kunstmatrix, with assistance from the Walters’ curatorial staff. Juror interviews will take place online, and BOPA will coordinate a virtual award ceremony. 

The 17th annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize is produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts in partnership with the Walters Art Museum. Learn more about the Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize at www.promotionandarts.org. To see artwork samples of this year’s semifinalists, follow BOPA on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: @promoandarts

For artists who are applying for the ARG, and to promote understanding on general elements of a contract, BOPA has engaged Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (MDVLA) to lead a virtual legal workshop training on contract law basics. The workshop, held on Saturday, March 5, from 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m., is free to attend. Register to get the link below.

REGISTER HERE

Available artwork by AMBER ROBLES-GORDON

Available artwork by KATHERINE TZU-LAN MANN

CHOICHUN LEUNG | Cultured Magazine

21 Jan

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Cutlured Mag

 

Choichun Leung Uses Art to Communicate with Survivors

ART

Choichun Leung Uses Art to Communicate with Survivors

The painter shares her latest body of work, her nonprofit and how the two have created pathways towards healing from childhood sexual abuse.WORDS

January 19, 2022

Choichun Leung is, as she puts it, the “product of a Chinese takeaway upbringing.” The artist grew up in Wales—her mother from the UK, her father from Hong Kong—where, from a young age, she began cooking and working at the family restaurant. She says that while her father was also creative, his circumstances as a Chinese man in the 1950s meant he wasn’t able to act on it; but as she watched him draw or make things with chopsticks after work, she caught on. She has a clear memory from about three years old of making playdough sculptures for a school competition. As a shy kid, Leung says art often allowed her to communicate—both with others and herself: “Art was my imaginary world that helped me disappear from my reality.”

Chiochun Leung in her studio. Photography courtesy of the artist.

With time, Leung had her hands in various mediums, and eventually chose to pursue metalwork with her education. She felt both a spiritual connection to the trade—she recounts visits to Chinese monasteries in her late teens that inspired a “fascination with ceremonial objects”—and believed it was a function that had to be learned, from welding and forging to raising a bowl. She believed that painting, on the other hand, would come from her. And it did.

Leung had always been a doodler, oftentimes depicting the heads of three Chinese girls in her work. Once, a friend asked why she stopped drawing at the characters’ heads: “He said, ‘why don’t you just carry on drawing the bodies?,’ and I began to feel that self-restriction telling me a story. I realized what was covered was a story of all the emotion that I had kept in.”

Chiochun Leung, Subconscious. Conscious., 2019. Photograohy courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art.

In the years that followed her friend’s prompt, Leung began to visually communicate with herself, drawing more and more Chinese figures as she reconciled memory and healing. “When I was drawing,” she shares, “I was remembering how I felt as a child.” At around age six, Leung has a memory of being sexually abused, and because she never approaches a painting with an intention, she shares how the story of her past began to reveal itself to her, thus fueling her journey as a survivor. Today, Morton Fine Art in Washington, D.C. opens Leung’s solo show, “The Watchful Eyes,” which amalgamates previous work from her journey with The Young Girl Project and otherwise.

Chiochun Leung, The Watchful Eyes, 2021. Photography courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art.

As she has begun to exhibit these paintings, Leung has witnessed how her work catalyzes dialogue around childhood sexual abuse. “These young kids are so open when they see the work,” Leung says. She shares that children will point out certain parts of her work—a girl hiding, a depiction of self harm, hands up to cover a child’s face—and ask what they mean. “I’ll say, ‘Well, she’s upset because somebody touched her vagina,’ or another graphic action phrased in a way that is most accessible to children.” Consequently, Leung’s paintings have become a channel for conversation around consent, allowing parents and their children to have honest dialogue around traumatizing events. Leung’s ability to document her own stories, both subconsciously and more advertently, has become a source of relief and education for many.

This year, Leung has turned her series of paintings and their ensuing discourse into an nonprofit, The Young Girl Project, that strives to destigmatize conversations around the sexual abuse of children. In conversations with survivors, Leung says she observes children feeling understood. In addition to being a resource for help, the organization asks that everyone who sees the project share it with five friends in some capacity. “We’re working to take something that is taboo out of that arena [and] into the mainstream in order to dispel shame,” the artist explains.

Chiochun Leung, Backward. Forward, 2019. Photograohy courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art.

As for why she thinks her work has resonated with survivors, it all comes down to art as an integral method of communication, particularly for children. “Children that have been abused don’t have the words to express it sometimes,” she shares. Almost accidentally, Leung has mimicked the work of therapists and community workers who are identifying cases of sexual abuse. “Using art helps [children] discern what has happened to them—by asking them to draw or observing the subject matter of their [existing] drawings,” she says.

Ultimately Leung hopes to create a community that advocates for the most vulnerable facing of sexual abuse. And, in doing so, she wants to teach children to think for themselves. “This is about defying authority—saying no to an adult who’s telling you to do something you don’t want to do,” she shares. “It’s all about connecting to your gut and your intuition. If you feel something isn’t right or wrong, trust that and act upon it.”

Available Artwork by CHOICHUN LEUNG.

Tune in to LISA MYERS BULMASH’s Visiting Artist Lecture at The North Seattle College of Art on Monday 10/25 from 12-1pm PDT or 3-4pm EST

15 Oct

LISA MYERS BULMASH, The Ingratitude of the Girl, 2021, 36″x48″, mixed media collage on panel
Detail of LISA MYERS BULMASH, The Ingratitude of the Girl, 2021, 36″x48″, mixed media collage on panel

Available Artwork by LISA MYERS BULMASH