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INTRODUCTION

The Duke Ellington School of the Arts Museum Studies Department presents EXPRESSIONS, a multimedia senior exhibition. Driven by the collective experiences in our communities over the past year and a need for personal reflection, we employ photography, digital art, installation, and painting to explore culture and identity. Self-expression through art makes way for the release from some of the stress that comes with staying safe and striving to navigate a changed world.

EXPRESSIONS provides a visual memory of our final year at Duke Ellington School of the Arts and offers glimpses of what we carry with us into the future.

Iyanna Morgan・Museum Studies Department・Duke Ellington School of the Arts・Class of 2021

ARTISTS

Armiya Farooq • Sahara Porter • Iyanna Morgan • Natalia Rodriguez • Jasmine Reid • Jamari Basabe • Maliah Graham-Bond • Diara Stubbs • Kenia Hernandez • Jasmine Smith • Falōin Williams

ARMIYA FAROOQ

INSIGHTS: FASHION CULTURE, Digital Photography (CLICK ON 1st IMAGE FOR SLIDE SHOW)

ARMIYA FAROOQ | ARTIST STATEMENT: Growing up and seeing my mother’s work as a photographer, I’ve always known that I wanted to be a photographer. I always admired her artistic ability and wanted to learn how to capture raw, authentic images reflecting the era of her youth as she did. It wasn’t until I got to high school where self-expression was presented all around me. It was like stepping into a work of art. Nothing was uniform, no one dressed or looked the same. I witnessed goth, hip hop streetwear, retro, punk, cosplay styles and so much more. Inspiration was everywhere!

I learned that fashion is a body language spoken differently by everyone. Through my camera’s lens, I document my interpretation of this language, particularly styles from the 1990s. I absolutely love everything about this era and secretly wish I was born during that time just to experience it all.

SAHARA PORTER

SIMPLICITY, Digital Video

SAHARA PORTER | ARTIST STATEMENT: “Simplicity” is a film that consists of several short clips that bring back memories for me. In one of the clips, you see me with my friends Maliah and Jasmine. These images bring forward a rush of memories for me and give me a sense of closure.

My poem, "The World I Am In" expresses the multiple realities I experience during the day. Although these dualities of feelings and emotions often clash, they sometimes, surprisingly complement each other. In my work, I wanted to demonstrate how I see the world and how I move about within it.

IYANNA MORGAN

EYE (THE VISUAL OF ME), Digital Collage

IYANNA MORGAN | ARTIST STATEMENT: In my work, EYE (The Visual of Me), I explore the bounds of self-identity. Self-identity is ever changing. Everlasting. Never ending. I communicate the struggles with my mental health, as well as, the unconditional love of my pets, of my friends and of self. This piece serves as a representation of my day to day internal struggles. It is a visual map that I use to find my way through the depth of the struggle. Most of all, it is a mirror reflecting the vulnerability many feel when going through the process of finding oneself.

I express the ideas in EYE (The Visual of Me) using digital media and graphic design, mediums I have cultivated during the last four years at Ellington and the tools that have become my second language and my outlet for expression.

NATALIA RODRIGUEZ

REFLECTIONS, Triptych Painting - Acrylic, Digital Graphics, Photography

NATALIA RODRIGUEZ | ARTIST STATEMENT: The day before my mother made it to the U.S. border it rained. She was wearing the new Hush Puppy Mary Janes her father gave her before they were separated along the way. The river was very high, so she waited one more day to cross, but continued to walk towards the border. At one point, the mud was so thick and heavy that while she was running, she lost one shoe and eventually lost both. When she finally made it to the border, she was barefoot. My mother carries the trauma of this event with her to this day; despite the courage it must have taken to endure such a distressing journey at a young age.

I am deeply inspired by the work of Frida Kahlo, an artist who tells stories and explores past traumas through painting. When my mother shared the story about how she lost her shoe during her journey to the U.S., I knew that I had to use paint and my hands as a medium to convey the personal nature of this experience that shaped her life.

JASMINE REID

HERITAGE, Digital Collage

JASMINE REID | ARTIST STATEMENT: My art piece is about my multicultural background. It broadcasts the different forms of art and culture from each side of my heritage, Puerto Rican and African American. For my Puerto Rican side it shows two traditional dancers alongside the flag, a typical town street and a family of chickens. My African American side shows the jazz era, civil rights movement and the hip hop era.

These are the two sides of my heritage. My job now is to use who I am to dig in and push forward as I make my mark on the world in spite of any obstacles I may face.

Artwork by other artists used in the creation of this collage: Maria Ortiz, Luis F Rodriguez, Ernie Barnes, Gabe Tiberino and Patrick Wilson.

JAMARI BASABE

THE MASKS WE WEAR, Digital Drawing

JAMARI BASABE | ARTIST STATEMENT: The name of my piece is The Masks We Wear. My piece focuses on mental health specifically “Smiling Depression." It is a term that describes people who mask their symptoms of depression behind a smile, appearing happy on the outside. Hiding emotions is something we all do very often. Depression aside . We silence the pain and bottle up our anxiety, fear, and anger and hide it behind a smile. Hence, The Masks We Wear.

MALIAH GRAHAM-BOND

COVER IDENTITY, Digital Graphics (CLICK ON 1st IMAGE FOR SLIDE SHOW)

MALIAH GRAHAM-BOND | ARTIST STATEMENT: As an aspiring graphic designer, I am drawn to the art of cover design. Cover art can take on many forms including illustration, painting, and text-based design for books, magazines, comic books, video games, CDs, vinyl, and other publications.

“Cover Identity” is a collection of mock album covers that celebrate my relatives and friends. Rather than use the aesthetics of cover design for the cover of an actual album or a book, I’ve used these design elements to tell stories about myself, my family, and my friends. Each square frame spotlights someone dear to me and who has inspired me throughout my life. I gather information about each person — a favorite color, tv show, music, etc. — and create a visual language that, when layered into the design, paints a picture about the subject.

DIARA STUBBS

In The USA, Digital Photography

DIARA STUBBS | ARTIST STATEMENT: Throughout the last 4 years of the Trump administration, I have felt that I had been living in a false reality. I was led to question daily what was real and what was “fake news.” Photojournalism was my light to see what was really going on in the world. I could see events unfolding with my own eyes and make judgments based on the images I consumed, and the expert reporting offered by credible sources.

After the storming of the capital on January 6th by domestic terrorists, I was inspired to become the photojournalist I so admire. I put my camera around my neck and hit the streets. I captured my own images of a capital city under siege and behind barricades and armored vehicles. As people could be seen walking by seemingly carefree, I wondered “Is this our new normal?”

Witnessing this aftermath, I feel charged now more than ever to use my images as a vehicle to spread truth through photojournalism.

KENIA HERNANDEZ

LOS AÑOS DE PENSAMIENTO, Digital Video

KENIA HERNANDEZ | ARTIST STATEMENT: We live in an age that does not often follow the words spoken by the Founding Fathers of this country; being created equal and having the same rights as our neighbors. These words hold little weight today. As a Latina in America, I have experienced this first hand. The lack of respect and consideration for basic human rights is astonishing to me. News coverage addressing the level of discrimination Latinos face in the United States is few to none.

I created my project with the intention of shedding light on this very serious issue. At the same time, I also reflect on the richness of Latino culture and what it means to be a Latino in America.

JASMINE SMITH

AN ODE TO MY MOTHER, Digital Video

JASMINE SMITH | ARTIST STATEMENT: In studying the work of poet and new director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture Kevin Young, I was inspired by his celebrated poems about “food”. While my mother does not get the prize for best cook, she does win the prize for everything else that really matters to me. I love expressing my truth in writing, even if what I write is not flattering on the surface.

FALŌIN WILLIAMS

CORAGYPS, Digital Photography Grid - Vulture Series

BECOMING | REMAINING, Installation - Continue to the bottom to view image.

FALŌIN WILLIAMS | ARTIST STATEMENT: Many people find death scary. They don’t want to talk about it, think about it, experience it; yet death is within us all. It is unavoidable, inescapable.

In this immersive installation, my intention was to offer viewers a safe place, a place of solitude where grief, loss, and death could be contemplated. It is a space where people can come to terms with the discomfort associated with death, particularly in this time of pandemic where we have experienced so much loss but there is no avenue to grapple with it. Originally this space was meant to be visited. A viewer would have entered a room that had minimal light and allowed a one-person at a time viewing experience.

During the creation of this installation, I used an actual deer skeleton, which invites viewers to come face-to-face with death literally rather than figuratively, as that is significantly more powerful. In addition, I have surrounded the skeleton with living nature (all species are native to the area where the deer was found) as an embodiment of the idea that death and life are connected to, and part of, one another.

By entering a space where thinking about death is encouraged rather than avoided, people can become less afraid of death. And, as people become less afraid of death, they are freed to enjoy life more fully. I want to make death less of a taboo and instead, make it something people can think and talk about as a part of life.

THE ART INSTALLATION PROCESS OF BECOMING | REMAINING

BECOMING | REMAINING INSTALLATION, Logs, Bark, River/Creek Water, Native Plants, Moss, Tarp & Deer Skeleton