CoCA Blog

Hear Our Voice

Posted by Shirene on January 26, 2017

By Shirene Soleiman

The conflicts and tension brought on by the 2016 presidential campaign have left many people feeling powerless, especially women. During times like these, creativity is often used as an empowering way to respond to such negativity where the art is an instrument of hope and activism, and CoCA’s February exhibition is an example. Hear Our Voice, on display at the Pioneer Square location February 2-25, 2017, will feature the influential voices of artists from across the U.S. in dedication to the recent Women’s March on Washington.

“We must be indivisible, we must be greater than fear, we must defend dignity, and we must protect each other.” This is the text included in We The People, a campaign produced by The Amplifier Foundation working with artists Shepard Fairey, Jessica Sabogal and Ernesto Yerena. The artwork in the exhibition symbolizes the fact that, in the face of fear, we may choose not to be silenced.

When you look at the art, you will notice right away that they contain such vibrance, presence and sometimes intense juxtapositions whether it’s in the visual components, the text or the two combined. For example, the colors in this We The People piece by Shepard Fairey are recognizably patriotic and yet they are so bright and intense that the red, white and blue have an entirely different personality. Besides accentuating the beauty and strength of the female figure, the image communicates that this is a statement that should never leave one’s mind.

ShepardFairey.Equal-Humanity-DefendDignity_web.jpg

Another example is the below illustration by Brooklyn artist Jennifer Maravillas. Even though it delivers the message more subtly than We The People, the impression left on me was still profound. There is also a large amount of noticeable juxtaposition -- The artwork is mostly taken up by text, yet the words carry a lot of weight: “Our bodies. Our minds. Our power.” Also, the background is a neutral blue and yet it is decorated (again, subtly) by symbols that constantly remind you what the purpose of the entire illustration is. 

JenniferMaravillas_OurBodiesOurMinds_web.jpg

The selections made for this exhibition were juried byCarmen Perez and Paola Mendoza from the WMW, Cleo Barnett from The Amplifier Foundation, independent artist Swoon and Jess X. Snow and Favianna Rodriguez fromJustseeds Artists’ Cooperative. The selection process was meant to ensure the art reflected women and the femme expressive people of all backgrounds and residing in the U.S. and yet that it did not require artists to be U.S. citizens.

I cannot wait to see the beautiful unity of creativity, activism and empowered voices to be heard, not silenced, when “Hear Our Voice” opens on February 2, 2017 with a reception from 6-9pm at CoCA in Pioneer Square and look forward to seeing you there.

 

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