Past Exhibition 2014: Cultural Exchanges

Cultural Exchanges celebrates the diversity of Montgomery County and explores artistic cross-fertilization. It brings together nine artists - Fetunwork Amedie, Ann Becker, Sally Brucker, PierreAntoine Goho, Winston Harris, Shanye Huang, Pauline Jakosberg, Dawda Oliver, and Linda SlatterySherman-  whose work refers to people, places, experiences and artistic traditions from across the globe. Some of these artists have lived and worked in Montgomery County their entire lives, while others have traveled here as children or adults, sometimes under duress. As a group, the work shares an abstract language that traverses cultural divides and probes themes of memory, loss, identity, and encounter.

Gallery Director and Curator Dr. Michele Cohen, explains, “This exhibition allows us to showcase a wide array of underexposed artists from diverse cultural backgrounds who are based in Montgomery County, and to explore artistic commonalities as well as differences. In an increasingly global culture, where the internet and travel link people across oceans and time zones, contemporary art has expanded its reach.” 

Cultural Exchanges reprises part of the mixed-media installation, “The Listening Room,” curated by participating artist, Sally Brucker, which began as a way to connect recent refugees and immigrants with local artists through visual art, storytelling, and poetry. Some of these storytellers, such as Ethiopian born Fetunwork Amedie and Dawda Oliver of The Gambia, are represented in this exhibition with their own art. Ann Becker’s poetry draws parallels between her family history and the experiences of recent arrivals and print-maker Pauline Jakobsberg layers images and text to capture sequences of memories. 

Pierre-Antoine Goho uses gourds and shells to evoke his native Cote d’Ivoire. Internationally recognized Chinese-born artist Shanye Huang fuses Chinese calligraphy and folk arts with gestural painting in vivid colors. His large canvases combine pictogram-like silhouettes with patterns and a psychedelic palette. Linda Slattery-Sherman responds to foreign travel in Peru with a mélange of symbols, and Winston Harris offers his “American Made Series,” a group of prints that investigate cultural identity, cultural stereotypes, and the hybridization of American culture.