Live to Change Something Through Art
Ensconced on the third floor of Bedford-Stuyvesants’ Restoration Plaza, the aptly named Skylight Gallery dazzles. This sun-drenched space currently hosts, “Live to Change Something Through Art”, (through feb 28th) an exhibition of the Art Collective Coup d’etat Brooklyn. Titled after the Collectives mission statement, this show endeavors, in the adapted words of curator Nakeisha Gumbs, to ‘explore urban art and showcase work that alludes to social conditions and culture.” Boasting contributions by over 25 artists, “Live to Change …” accomplishes this objective with style.
The high notes of the show are 4 jewel-toned photographs from Kwesi Abbensetts. The double exposure muses in these photos are confrontational and dream-like, leaving an impactful resonance long after their initial viewing. Jamaican born Taganyahu Swaby offers traditional and technically proficient woodcuts. The rousing “We Nuh Know How We and Dem a Go Work It Out” by Swaby features a cacophonous street scene, with deep gouges in wood signifying the vacuous, unmistakable shapes of riot police headgear and batons. Also exceptional, a deftly executed letter-form abstraction by DC native ONE9, an amusing yet polished ‘Big Daddy Kane Snowboard’ by Deka (Kane is nimbus-framed with gold and cash in check) and the uplifting ‘Freedom Fighters’ Poster by designer Sam Wilson, with imagery alluding to the twin weapons of inspiration and example employed by heroes of old.
This polyphonic show offers much in the way of perspective and insight, a reminder that themes as broad as urbanity and community can seldom be voiced in the singular. Rather, the strains of comprehension come to us in chords, sometimes clanging, often soothing and occasionally sublime.