By Claudia Hardy | Staff Writer
Cultural identity has been examined for years now. Who am I? What am I contributing to society? How will my voice be heard?
For a group of local artists, exploring those questions and sharing their personal experiences and beliefs through powerfully moving art became a shared goal for the In Between the Middle exhibition.
Hosted by South Side’s Brew House Association, and presented by the #notwhite collective, this display features the 11 women artists who are members of the Pittsburgh-based collective and 21 additional artists who were invited to be featured in the gallery. These artists range from various backgrounds and cultural identities, some declaring themselves as biracial, multiracial, multicultural or immigrants. Their physicalities differ, but all have the intention of raising awareness of those who do not feel that they fit into a specific cultural classification.
Participating artists include Rafael Abreu-Canedo, Carolina Acero, Rafaela Acero, Fernando Acero, Anup Aryal, Jose Alban, Sarah Aziz, Di-ay Batad, Corey Carrington, Francis Cleetus, Veronica Corpuz, Sheila Cueffer-Shaffer, Christiane Dolores, Amber Epps, Fran Flaherty, Geña, Sarika Goulatia, Max Gonzalez, Zena Ruiz, Carolina Loyola-Garcia, Liana Maneese, Maritza Mosquera, Ryan Mosquera-Laib, Maggie Negrete, Christina Springer, Sara Tang, Eddie Vilega and Jaina Warren.
The exhibition contains various forms of art, including self-portraits, paintings, printmaking, sculptures and videos. Each grasp the concept of individuality in unique ways that bring awareness to voices that may not feel as loud, listened to and appreciated.
Specific pieces available for viewing at the exhibition includes those from member Amber Epps, whose medium of choice is carved, wooden printed words. Language is a powerful tool, and Epps helps to grasp the central role in understanding her work by producing powerful emotions towards the absence and denial of understanding minority cultures.
Another featured artist included in the exhibition is Maritza Mosquera. Mosquera shows her work through a set of 10 portraits of the other 10 collective members. All portraits are solely black and white and etched with graphite lead. The reoccurring color scheme helps to support finding one’s identity. In addition to the portraits, Mosquera also incorporated text that each member answered regarding cultural identification.
Although the artists use their voices through powerful words that can be considered controversial to some, the overall collective and exhibition was not created with the intention to put down those who are intolerant towards individuals who have differing opinions from their own. This exhibition was put together in order to bring awareness to oppression in today’s society. The idea is that oppression is something that affects everyone and bringing light to the issue will only educate the rest of the public and those who view these various pieces.
The exhibition will be open and available freely to the public until Feb. 23. Gallery hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Saturdays 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., or by appointment at 711 S 21st St #210, Pittsburgh, PA 15203. For more information, visit http://brewhousearts.org