August’s featured artist is also curating her first group show at Resonator. Ashley Morrison serves on Resonator’s Advisory Board and is involved with weekly crew meetings. However, this time around we encouraged Ashley to take the lead and organize what is essentially an exhibition celebrating people of color (POC) and the importance of owning your narrative. We strive to facilitate the growth of artists and encourage in the community a sense of authentic human interaction; we even wrote it into the mission statement. Come experience this and more during August’s 2nd Friday Art Walk on August 9th from 6:00-10:00 p.m.
Q) Why were you drawn to organizing this exhibition?
A) As a woman of color, I constantly see a need for representation for POC. Building an identity as a black woman in a way has been a self-fabricated journey; it's something I've worked very hard to piece together from listening to Toni Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston on audio book, digging for fragments of my ancestral heritage, and honestly, lots of internal lamenting. It sounds like I'm being extra, but I think it's important that POCs articulate their experiences; our stories deserve to be accurately represented. As a child and then a young adult, I struggled to piece together that sense of self. It's still a struggle for me today. I think about POC youth and think about my own children and how their experiences can be so easily misshapen by a culture that doesn't always include them. I hope to help provide opportunities for them to establish their identity without having to reinvent the bizarre wheel that is the marginalized minority experience.
Q) What are your goals for this exhibition?
A) One of the things I cherish the most about the Resonator family is working with people who are so committed to fostering artists. Being a creative can be somewhat of a feral experience and the guidance that is offered in our space is pretty amazing. I also hope to help offer some kind of social respite for POC, a space where they can see themselves reflected in media in world where often times POC are misrepresented, underrepresented, or not represented at all.
Q) Were you surprised by any of the submissions? And if so, who’s work redefined the shape of your expectations for what this exhibition could be?
A) Again, I don't mean to be extra, but I was stunned by every single submission. Each one of the artists that will be featured are of their own self-made discipline, so we have a pretty interesting variety. I believe that right there is what has redefined my perspective of art. We asked each artist how their culture has shaped their art, they've provided honest and raw answers, and you see that manifest in their work. Also, there was something sacred about meeting each artist, and each artist handing me their work. Pretty dope.
Q) What is your take away from organizing and curating this exhibition?
A) Lots of surrender and self-forgiveness. I had all of these wonderful, sparkling ideas of how I envisioned the show. Then we had to get practical! So lots of surrender to focusing on basics: getting the art, putting on the wall, and showing up to event, lol.
Q) To keep it short and sweet, what haven’t I asked that you want readers/ the art walk audience to know about you, an artist left unmentioned, or anything else that you feel is important, but hasn’t been covered?
A) I've seen local diversity initiatives and I'm always saddened to see non-POC leading those conversations. As a black woman and descendant of ancestors who were originally tribal, I know that there is something sacred about storytelling. Let people tell their own story. Let people control their own narrative of their existence.