Reflecting on the passage of time and periods of contemplation from last year, School of Art students crafted an exhibition that praises looking backwards called “In Praise of Shadows.”
The exhibition, located in Green Hall, went on view on Feb. 16 and features work by seven master’s degree candidates in painting and printmaking. The exhibition’s pieces revolve around the passage of time and reflection — in response to both life-changing events and moments of stillness.
“This exhibition brings together artists of today, not tomorrow, a collective of painters and printmakers who have found a way to hang on to a shadow,” the exhibition’s curator and guest lecturer Ebony Haynes said. “Grouped together, this exhibition creates a space where seriality and revision are embraced and where contemplation is long and encouraged.”
The Green Hall exhibition is open only to members of the School of Art community while the University’s COVID alert level stays at orange. Interested viewers must make appointments on the School of Art’s website to see the show. Time slots for the show are 20 minutes each and are available until Feb. 21. A comprehensive virtual exhibition will launch in early March.
Danielle De Jesus’ ART ’21 art in the exhibition discusses moments from Puerto Rican history. Her work on display — taking the form of paintings that are 7 feet wide — spans different styles including oil on linen, oil on panel and installations.
“Many of us in the diaspora have had our history hidden from us and are only taught a very small portion of our story in school both in Puerto Rico and the diaspora,” De Jesus said. “So I can only hope that my work will inspire Puerto Ricans to question the relationship between Puerto Rico and the U.S. as its colonial subject.”
De Jesus’ paintings include scenes from the Ponce Massacre in Puerto Rico, a protest against a former Puerto Rican governor, the Puerto Rican parade in Bushwick, Hurricane Maria and “perreo” — a sensual dance performed to reggaeton music — held in this instance as a political demonstration.
De Jesus added that she was particularly excited about the work of Alina Perez ART ’21 and Leyla Faye ART ’21 in the exhibition, and she said their use of color and light inspire her.
Another student, Dala Nasser ’21, chose not to showcase her work — despite original plans to do so — following the killing of Lokman Slim, a Lebanese critic of the militant extremist group Hezbollah.
“As a friend of Lokman’s and a Lebanese citizen, I find it paramount to exercise my right as an artist with a voice to choose silence in moments where words fail, where solidarity is needed, and abstain from exhibiting in mourning of this truly horrendous crime,” Nasser said. “I hope this gesture carries some of the weight that this incredibly courageous individual lived by.”
Rather than showing her own art, Nasser put up a framed photo of Slim and his dog with a handwritten caption saying, “In Loving Memory of Lokman Slim 1962-2021.”
De Jesus said she thinks all featured artists are “telling their personal stories” through their work. For Haynes, these stories are glimpses into the past that are full of potential.
“Shadows, paradoxically, cast light on things almost forgotten,” Haynes said. “And how rich in the shadows is the place of time and memory.”
Annie Radilllo | annie.radillo@yale.
Correction, Mar. 10: A previous version of this article stated that Green Hall is open to the public. Green Hall is only open to members of the School of Art community while the university COVID alert level remains at orange. The story has been updated.