Local Movement

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Local Movement: An Exhibition of Providence Art

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curated by Kazi Brotz, Yanely Espinal, Ariel Hudes, and Isabel Parkes

An exhibition of art from the Providence community that uses a U-Haul truck as its gallery.
Friday, 14 May 2010 

Hope High School 9 am - 10 am
The Rhode Island Institute 12 pm - 1 pm
Brown University Main Green 2 pm - 3 pm
Kennedy Plaza 4 pm - 5 pm

Local Movement takes its name from its food-based cousin that functions in the wider Providence community, manifesting itself in farmers' markets, food cooperatives, and general good eats. That related initiative brings local farmers directly to local buyers, all the while 'greening' Rhode Island's shopping habits while cultivating its community. Our project hopes to let art plant similar seeds of unity.

Local Movement will work to facilitate a similar inter-community conversation via the mobilization of art; a mobilization that will create community-crossing connections in a small, but often all-too divided few square miles. The project will bring works by artists from Brown University, RISD, Hope High School, and a community of resettled refugees together in one gallery. By selecting works from each of these artistic communities and placing them literally under one roof, Local Movement embodies a new kind of physical and creative unity. With this mobile, white cube-like space the curators of the exhibition look to encourage dialogue between people whose knowledge of the subject - whether it be the art itself or the specific communities - varies.

Below are images depicting each work, accompanied by the actual wall text from the exhibition. (Click on the image to enlarge.)

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Acrylic, Colored Pencil, and Lead Pencil on Paper

11-year old Alice, a refugee from Central Africa, was asked along with her companions to represent her vision of America. Specifically, organizers of the Brown Refugee Youth Tutoring & Enrichment (BRYTE) urged the children to express their time here and what their journeys up to this point signified. Alice's self-portrait exudes patriotism for her newfound country; the red and blue of her clothes speak loudly to America's own flag. Shying away from abstraction, Alice's young vision illuminates a hope for happiness and comfort: with two feet firmly on the grass-covered ground, this character seems at home in the States

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Luis Urena
Lulu Chimp
Acrylic, sumi ink, chalk, and tempera

LuLu Chimp was created as part of the "Mindscapes" assignment in Urena's senior art class at Hope High School. For the Mindscapes project students were asked to answer the question "What does the inside of your mind look like?" They were encouraged to think about how individual their minds are and to make a piece of art that represents that individuality.

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Cooper O'Brien
Blown glass cold worked with a Dremel, battery light

As a sophomore Glass major at the Rhode Island School of Design, Cooper O'Brien represents the hardworking student art community of College Hill. Painstakingly modeled from lunar charts, O'Brien's Moon calls upon humanity's instinctual fascination with the great unknown through both its titular subject and use of obscured light. The work flirts with utility, but its handcrafted detail and weighty presence stolidly declare it art.

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Storm McPherson
Paper McFigure

McPherson chose dancing as her self-representative action pose. Her figure is notable for its subtle portrayal of the curves of the female figure and for its innovative solution to the problem of raising the figure off the ground.


Guy-maly Pierre
Paper McFigure

Students began the Paper McFigure project by measuring their classmates in order to find the normal proportions of the human body. Beginning with pipe-cleaners, the students then assembled a body and shaped it to represent a physical activity they do. Pierre chose cartwheeling.

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Mary Macgill
Light Thread
Thread and acrylic medium on plexiglass

Honors Visual Arts Concentrator and graduating senior, Mary Macgill captures an important part of the College Hill arts community at Brown University. Her work here, Light Thread, responds to "accumulation and illumination," said the artist in a recent interview. Macgill's piece appears simultaneously laborious and complex, yet fascinatingly simple. The meters of thread entangle and embrace each other, echoing the movement of Abstract Expressionist painter Jackson Pollack—both artists' work is intensely physical. Macgill's more subdued palette is earthy; she seems to root the piece to natural feelings of mortality, but the geometry of form hints at a larger, rigid plan for the work's meaning. The energy and movement of the piece speaks loudly to Local Movement's own ambitions.

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Kevin Bailey

For the "Spirituality" project, students were asked to use color, mark making, and texture to portray their unique spirituality through self-portraits. In Bailey's piece, the use of color is especially grasping. Notice the left-to-right color gradient as well as the way his tactful employment of reds highlights the eyes.

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Acrylic, Colored Pencil, Lead Pencil on Paper

When asked by organizers of Brown Refugee Youth Tutoring & Enrichment (BRYTE) to represent his journey from central Africa to resettlement in the U.S., 9-year old Rene focused on motion and transport. In his 2-part piece, he paints the first airplane he had ever seen (an Air France jet). The American flag vertically connects the two rightward movements, suggesting that each will lead to a perhaps more unified country, a newly envisioned future. The bright, bold colors underscore Rene's excited idealism, and seem above all to reflect a jovial attitude towards resettlement in the U.S. Despite Rene's tales of escape from danger in places like Somalia, Burundi, and Rwanda, this work captures a uniquely young and engaged perspective. It thus stands as both a reminder to a single day's brightness and an ever-expanding horizon here as part of the Providence community.

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The gallery

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At our first stop at Hope High School students toured the gallery and saw their work side by side
with work done by members of other Providence communities. They then helped us make the
exterior of our gallery into a piece of art.

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At our next stop at the Rhode Island Institue we met resettled refugees from around the world.
Since English wasn't always an option, we found new ways of giving gallery tours. Many
of the gallery visitors wrote their names on the side of our gallery; one of their ESL teachers said:
"When they got here they couldn't write their names. I had to help them hold the pencils. Now they
know how. To them, showing that is a work of art."

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Next we stopped on the Main Green at Brown. We gave tours to students, faculty, administrators,
staff, and visitors.

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The gallery's final stop was Kennedy Plaza.

Some rough and raw footage of the day:

The gallery visits the Rhode Island International Institute: see the video

At the Rhode Island International Institute, visitors look at the sculptures from Hope High School: see the video

Visitors at the Rhode Island International Institute tour the gallery: see the video

Making the exterior of the truck into art: see the video

Soliciting visitors to the gallery at its Kennedy Plaza stop: see the video

Isabel talks to a gallery visitor at Kennedy Plaza: see the video

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