BronxArtSpace Exhibit Represents Intersectionality


(Courtesy of Shelby Daniels)

By Shelby Daniel

BronxArtSpace, a hidden gem in the Mott Haven neighborhood, showcases personal representations of diversity in its newest exhibit titled “For Us.”
The exhibit fills the one-room gallery on the first floor of an apartment complex and features pieces in a variety of mediums by eight young women of color.
Kiara Ventura curated the exhibit, which opened on March 31. The carefully selected pieces make a collective impact on the viewer, displaying a variety of means of representation.

“For Us” is dedicated by the artists and the curator to other women of color with the overall goal of expressing feelings of healing and empowerment.
The aim of the exhibit is to bring forth questions of images in media in the modern world and look at how marginalized groups can reclaim personal freedom by creating unapologetic images of themselves.

The artists provoke discussions of intersectionality within their works. The largest, and perhaps the most powerful, piece in the exhibit is “scene 6” by Monica Hernandez.

The painting, an oil on canvas, displays women of color performing actions that are essential parts to everyday life, but are never openly discussed and portrayed without disgust. One woman eats pasta, another watches television and the last cuts her hair while laying in bed.

The piece subverts expectations of representation by depicting moments that explore the concepts of sexuality, femininity, domesticity, religion and indulgence.
Hernandez provides some of her thought process when creating art in a commemorative booklet on the collection, saying that her goal is to “bend and break the rules of that which we know, and find truths we are all scared to speak.”

The mixture of mediums used by the artists adds another dimension of enjoyment to “For Us.”

Caseena Karim expresses her Muslim and queer identity through a series of videos that play on a continuous loop on a mounted television in the gallery.
The videos explore what it means to exist at the intersection of being a queer, Muslim and multiracial first-generation immigrant in a white-centric western society. She dedicates her work to queer trans people of color.

One of my personal favorites of the exhibit is the ceramic sculpture entitled “Cry Baby” by Rocio Marie. The piece utilizes bright unabashed colors and a pair of devil horns to encapsulate the villainization of many women of color.

Despite it standing at only a foot tall, its powerful presence at the center of the gallery feels like an anchor to the rest of the works.

Other notable pieces in the exhibit are the interactive mixed media installations “Playwright” by Solaris Sapiente and “Box Braid Curtain” by Dana Davenport.

BronxArtSpace highlights issues of representation and solidarity that have long affected the borough in the “For Us” exhibit. However, this is not the first time the space has been used for expression of the experiences of marginalized communities.

The gallery was founded in 2009, and continues to present issues of relevance through its collections.

Located at 305 E 140th St. #1A, BronxArtSpace is open to the public from 12 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The

“For Us” exhibit will remain open until May 12.

BronxArtSpace, a nonprofit art gallery, was opened in 2008 by Linda Cunningham and Mitsu Hadeishi at 305 E. 140 St. (Shelby Daniels/The Fordham Ram)