New Spring Exhibitions At Grounds For Sculpture
“KATAYUN K. KAPADIA”: This photo on fabric banner by Erica Lee is featured in“Local Voices: Memories, Stories, and Portraits,”one of two new exhibitions on view at Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton through January 7. (Photo by Bruce M. White)
This spring, a Grounds For Sculpture (GFS) exhibition presents a multi-faceted portrait of the Indian diasporic community in New Jersey, through first-person narratives, images, and objects. “Local Voices: Memories, Stories, and Portraits” is created in partnership with 15 community members and led by artist, teacher, and journalist Madhusmita “Madhu” Bora. It is one of two concurrent exhibitions that inaugurate the new Perspectives series at GFS and explore the role of creating person-centered exhibitions, ensuring individual and communal agency in the art of storytelling.
Both “Local Voices” and the second exhibition, “Spiral Q: The Parade,” are on view through January 7 in Grounds For Sculpture’s Domestic Arts Building. “Spiral Q’s” focus is on the locally and nationally recognized puppet-making organization Spiral Q, with its rich history of take-to-the-street advocacy processions for social and political change.
“With the launch of the Perspectives series, Grounds For Sculpture is taking on new levels of engagement with our audiences as we organize artist-led, community-driven exhibitions to deepen our understanding of how we — as artists, individuals, and communities — are reflecting on our world and responding to subjects and issues of today,” said Gary Garrido Schneider, executive director of Grounds For Sculpture. “We remain committed to engaging and challenging visitors of all ages and backgrounds with exhibitions and collections that present the work of contemporary artists through sculpture, while developing greater understanding of our audiences through storytelling and listening to the voices of the communities around us.”
Kathleen Ogilvie Greene, chief audience officer at Grounds For Sculpture and lead curator of both exhibitions, added, “Regardless of our race, ethnicity, language, or age, most of us carry stories that offer themes of love, loss, and resilience. This connectivity is the impetus for ‘Local Voices: Memories, Stories, and Portraits.’ We stayed hyperlocal — both with the selected community and with storytelling sharing from a lived experience — to focus on the stories that connect us as human beings.
“Both Madhu Bora and Spiral Q have been amazing partners, and we are excited to present two distinct, yet connected, paths to storytelling: the individual narratives within one exhibition and the collective voice of a community in the other. I’m particularly delighted to be working on both shows with co-curator Quentin Williams, who brings his expertise as a curator, activist, and poet to the team.”
Grounds For Sculpture invited Bora — a folk and traditional artist, teacher, writer, and journalist, as well as an Assamese American dancer and founder of Sattriya Dance Company — to gather oral histories that would present a range of uniquely personal stories from New Jersey’s Indian diasporic community. The images, objects, and stories within the “Local Voices” exhibition are the result of her building relationships with individuals, the “storytellers,” over the course of 10 months. The selected 15 individuals were then invited to share their stories, select an object of meaning, and craft their image with full autonomy, to create a powerful exhibition.
The “Local Voices” exhibition showcases portraits, hanging banners, personal objects of meaning, and video and audio clips of personal stories. Participants in this project reflect a broad scope of this community through the lenses of language, religion, ability, region of origin, caste, education, immigration, and sexual orientation.
Grounds For Sculpture is located at 80 Sculptor Way in Hamilton. It is open Wednesday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Tuesday). For more information and extended hours in May through September, visit groundsforsculpture.org.