Within Caron Tabb’s show, “Humanity Is Not A Spectator Sport“, a series of rotating installations entitled What Now; Making Space take place. As Tabb’s show focuses on the need to recognize privilege, accept progressive change, and actively create room within our worlds for others, What Now; Making Space consists of the artist’s removal of a symbolic piece of her own artwork in order to make space for each of seven other visiting artists’ works. Over the course of seven weeks, artist and participant Meclina installs her curated rotation – an exhibition-within-an-exhibition – showcasing this series of featured works, week by week.
What Now; Making Space not only features works by a variety of artists but gives an opportunity for networking career growth. Through a weekly artist blog feature and online artist talk, each will be highlighted and given the opportunity to more fully explain and engage with the Boston area community. They will also be able to engage with each other through an artist-only event formulated to offer a space for authentic and transparent conversations regarding the challenges of the art world. Each of these artists has a unique vision of the world and a message they present through their artwork, and we are both excited and thankful to have them here in the gallery.
Meclina is the final of seven visiting artists included among the What Now; Making Space lineup. Her work is set to be on display in the gallery from January 13th, 2022 through the end of the exhibition.
Meclina Gomes is a respected contemporary artist most known for her use of microcalligraphy (micrography) as the focal point in her work. Micrography, a tradition started in Europe and the Middle East in the 9th century, features minute script written into abstract patterns or formed into figurative designs – in this case, often human forms and figures. Meclina’s paintings are woven with words for social empowerment and self-acceptance; when you engage with her art, the ethereal imagery at once pulls you in while delicate words embrace the canvas, serving as “a reminder of your own inner reflection and self-love“.
Meclina’s background is in arts education, community programming, and working in the design community. She has led several community-based art projects. As the resident artist for Marriott, Meclina brings together businesses, local communities, and guests to engage in various art talks and live painting events. While working with interior and set designers, she creates oversized original works of art to provoke interactive experiences . Meclina’s work is found in private collections, celebrity homes, and several public locations around the US, including the Mayflower Hotel, Epicurean Hotel and on-production points. Meclina currently resides in New Bedford, MA with her family.
We had the opportunity to meet with Meclina in her first interview with Beacon Gallery. Check out what she had to share about her experience curating and participating in Caron Tabb’s What Now; Making Space show, below!
What initially brought you into the arts?
My family is from the Cape Verde islands where storytelling is an art form. Those with the gift of captivating family members old and young were legends at cultural celebrations and family gatherings. I love creating visuals in my mind and being swept away in the stories they would share. As a teenager I was conflicted and angry with the social unrest of Apartheid and the Rodney King protests. I wanted to find a way to express my feelings. Using micrography was my outlet to pour out my feelings in visual art along with poetry. Over the years I’ve discovered how to create moments where the viewer can be curious about the subject matter and as they draw in closer they read thought provoking prose. This is when I feel my art is complete.
What do you want people to know about you and/or your art?
My art comes through me, it is very similar to Monks that create sand meditation mandalas. The practice of abstract backgrounds is energy pouring out, setting the tone of the piece; it directly relates to the overlay of imagery created with micro hand calligraphy (micrography). This practice of being present and mindfulness creates an atmosphere of meditation for me.
What message do you hope the audience will take from your participation in this exhibition?
It is my intention to create a moment of profound beauty in the imagery – flawless, timeless beauty of the black female figure. The prose in the piece is about the lack of fragility allowed in the black female narrative. We are often referred to as strong, enduring, intimidating, robust. It negates our delicacy, our need to be nurtured and to be treated as such. Having gone through horrific medical experiences giving birth and the loss of one of my children, I experienced firsthand the lack of compassion and grace we all deserve. It is my hope to open up the dialogue of medical treatment of the black female and to further investigate the teachings and practices of systemic racism in medical education.
Do you have any future projects planned?
Future projects include expanding my series of the “Female in the light” and “Historical figures in Cape Verdean culture”. As an art fellow with the James Weldon Foundation, I continue to work on collaborative projects. Lastly, I want to share my work as an artist in residence at Marriott and through my newly formed nonprofit; Community Art Collaborative.
Special thanks to Meclina for taking the time to share with us.
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