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Exhibition: Blooming in the Whirlwind by Janelle Washington

9 April 2021 @ 8:00 am 31 May 2021 @ 5:00 pm EDT

About the Exhibit:

After creating two paper cuts for the national juried show entitled “Flowers and Gardens” held at the 311 Gallery in Raleigh, North Carolina, artist Janelle Washington was compelled to create the series “Blooming in the Whirlwind”. Drawing inspiration from everyday people and the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks (see “The Second Sermon on the Warpland”), Washington explores innovative ways to express and illustrate the struggles and beauty that emerge in the daily lives of African Americans. 

In our current society, African Americans have had to resort to creating hashtags like #BlackGirlMagic and #BlackBoyJoy to overshadow and change negative stereotypes and narratives. Through the medium of 3-D layered paper cuts, the artist seeks to show the changed narrative by using the faces of the youth, text, flower crowns, symbolic imagery such as Adinkra symbols, and body parts as metaphors. Washington will illuminate the innocence of black youth, the resilience in their eyes, and the many layers of frustration, hope, and joy that they carry. The simplicity of paper silhouettes allows the viewer to focus on the faces- faces that portray one as they are even if the world around them says otherwise. Because “we are in fact the beautiful bloom”.

Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center

2410 Wickham Avenue
Newport News, Virginia 23607 United States
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