There was some powerful work hanging in Phoenix art galleries on Third Friday. From portraits of "badass" women to exploring the impact of police violence on the black community, we were moved by the messages shared by local artists.
'The Spillover Effect'
A framed poem written by contemporary poet George Hammons hangs inside Modified Arts, referencing the first ship to carry slaves to America – and a long list of names including Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, and Philandro Castile. Several artists gathered near the poem during Third Friday, talking with gallery-goers about their art featured in this exhibit curated by Emancipation Arts. The exhibit explores the impact police violence has on the mental health of black community members.
Participating artists include C.A. Hammons, Michael Massenberg, Nicholas Murray, and Leonard Wilson. Walking through the gallery, Massenberg paused over several of his paintings, elaborating on the feelings wrought by systemic racism – including the anger signified by his use of the color red. And
There is something in the eyes of the powerful women local artist Phil Freedom captured in "DisMantling Power." The pupils inside these laser-etched stencil stack portraits pull you in and then follow you around the room. In a statement written by Freedom that hung on the walls of The Hive, he finds himself "drawn to celebrating those that challenge power."
The women he captured unquestionably fit that description. They include Opal Tometi, the founder of Black Lives Matter, activist Malala Yousafzai, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In addition to his written statement, Freedom also included etched quotes (or a tweet, in the case of Ocasio-Cortez) highlighting why they're, as he puts it, "badass." Their stories are worth celebrating, and Freedom will be donating a portion of the proceeds to their cause.
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'For Her Time'
Samantha Lyn Aasen’s bold "For Her Time" exhibit was inside the renovated
The photos are open and intimate. The bold colors are amplified on satin and hang on the wall like flags. Some of the models are casual, with one taking a selfie with one breast out. Aasen is known for the strong feminist message in her photography, and "For Her Time" shows the lives of those behind the scenes.