“What do you think?” the woman asked me as I gazed at a dark, skull-like image surrounded by bright triangles of red, yellow, green and blue. “I love it!” I exclaimed. “I’m the artist.” the woman responded proudly.
The powerful painting reminded me of Haitian art and was part of an exhibit of artwork by N St. Village women at Fathom Creative (1333 14th St.) in the District. The artist told me that she paints with the strength of the earth in mind, and likes to use bold, bright colors. She expressed amazement at the exhibit, saying that when she was making the art, she wasn’t thinking that others would even see it. Yet here it was, framed and looking like more than what she thought it could be.
The exhibit is only up for a short time, but the large crowd at the opening on April 20 was exuberant and enthusiastic. Graduate Art Therapy intern Beth Marie Tutt curated the show. She spent the year working with the women at N St. Village, helping them to express their struggles, put visual voice to their life stories and make some sense of where their lives can go. Standing in the crowded room at the opening, it was clear that art is more than expression, more than communication; art brings people together, art builds community, and art helps us transcend our stressful lives to become more than we think we can be. ~LR Garlock