Portland UMVA has had a great summer of gallery shows including its 2018 summer members’ show in July, painter/mixed media artist Matt Demers’ fabulous exhibition of new abstract paintings titled “Everybody’s Talkin’ at Me” in August, and the always engaging Addison Woolley collective of visual artists in September.
In October, artist and curator Janice L. Moore will present a juried show of various media titled “Some Reliable Truths About Chairs.” Robyn Holman, retired art curator, Atrium Art Gallery at USM’s Lewiston Campus will assist Janice as a guest juror. The exhibit promises to be a provocative encounter with “chairs” on many levels. It opens October 5th and runs through November 3rd. The artists’ reception will be Friday, October 5th, 5-8 p.m.
The “UMVA Fall Members’ Open Exhibition” opens on Friday, November 9th,with an artists’ reception at 5-7 p.m. The show runs through Friday, December 7th, with a closing artists’ reception at 5-8 p.m. All UMVA members are encouraged to participate by sending jpeg images to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight October 21st. Curator Gregg Harper notes that “Artworks in most media (except performance and installation) will be accepted. Though there is room in the front window to exhibit 2 or 3-free-standing sculptures (enter early), because of Fire Code regulations at the Portland Media Center, sculpture will have to be wall-mounted or small enough to be exhibited on a plinth against the gallery wall (bring your own plinth if you can). Artists may submit one 2D piece 16”x 20” or larger or up to two 2D pieces that are each smaller than 16”x 20”.” With submissions provide Title, Date, Medium, Size and Selling Price (if applicable). Also, on the drop-off day (Saturday, November 3, Noon – 4 p.m.) bring an Artist Statement and/or Bio that includes an image of your submitted work, which will be included in the exhibition deskbook.
The UMVA 2018 Holiday Art Sale will be held 11 a.m – 5 p.m. on December 15th and 16th at the UMVA Gallery at Portland Media Center. All members are welcome to apply for participation, though there is limited space. More information will be emailed to UMVA members several weeks prior to the show. Participation will based on the order in which application requests are made and will be open until the space is filled (there is room for approximately 15 members).
UMVA Portland has already accepted several shows for the upcoming 2019 year. These include “Ours is a Life of Lights and Shadows,” organized for March by Gregg Harper and William Hessian; “Go Figure,” a group show in July with painters Jen Joaquin, Roland Salazar Rose and Jim Kelly with photographer Dave Wade; an as yet untitled show by artist Julia Durgee in August; “Visible Discourse from Maine’s Western Foothills,” a group show of artists Schneider, Arcadipone, Best and Millonzi; and “Imposition & Yielding: Travail en Cire,” a group show with artists Ann Tracy, Anne Strout and Ann Deutsch in October. The two UMVA members’ exhibitions are planned for June and November with the Holiday Art Sale in December. Applications for other months are being accepted for consideration at the October UMVA Portland meeting on October 15th. All artists are welcome to apply by visiting the UMVA Portland webpage and downloading, preparing. and returning an application form. You can also contact Gregg Harper for an application at email@example.com
Among other projects being considered by UMVA Portland include updating the website, possible collaboration with PMC on shows related to the gallery and painting the back wall of the gallery to bring attention to the back room.
In April, the creative voices and talents of more than a dozen immigrant artists living in greater Portland will be exhibited at the Union of Maine Visual Artists Gallery. Seventeen artists collaborated with curators Kifah Abdulla (poet and painter from Iraq), Titi de Baccarat (sculptor and painter from Gabon) and John Ripton (photographer, writer and historian) to create work that expresses their experience as Maine immigrant artists. Each artist – painter, sculptor, photographer, poet and performance artist – will exhibit work that they have completed since arriving in Maine.
Greater Portland is home to thousands of immigrants whose life stories demonstrate the will to overcome lack of opportunity and education, political repression, violence and poverty. Some of the artists in the exhibit are fortunate to have escaped such violations of human rights and other artists have not. All of them have nevertheless distinguished themselves as artists and in many other endeavors. Their collective stories are part of the story of the United States. They inspire us in ways our great grandparents’ and their grandparents’ lives do.
As with earlier immigrants, the newer immigrants are building their lives here and revitalizing Greater Portland, its economy and its culture. The artists will share their desires and dreams as well as their reflections on how they arrived in Maine and the challenges they continue to face. The exhibition of their work will speak directly to the world in which we live, without the spin of manufactured news.
In a time when differences among peoples are being exploited at the highest levels of government, this creative project strives to cross the borders and walls separating brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers. The exhibited work speaks to our common humanity. Guided tours of the exhibit for students and teachers of Portland area schools, colleges and universities are also planned.
my people dying
I’m feeling like a product of war
here I stand while they laugh
cause my people left poor
my childhood memories
had me begging for more
got away from the war
but now I’m worst than before
came here to represent for
my Africans all around the world
gotta stay on my grind though
like poverty right at my door
for all the people out in this world
that got no home
cause they families poor
for all the people
that will never know
what it feels like to be cared for
pray to god
and let it flow
it ain’t all about that money bro
now let us go
look at me
I represent like Rambo
how many people here gotta die
how many mothers here gotta cry
how much more do we sacrifice
before we get to see paradise
It is quiet in Darfur
by Ekhlas Ahmad
It’s quiet in Darfur. It’s not the silence of peace, but it’s the silence of death.
My homes that once carried histories of generations are now burned ashes on the
ground waiting for the wind to blow them to their final destination.
My mothers that were once Leaders of their communities are now used as war
My sisters that once had chances to be future leaders are now afraid to see the sun.
So I speak for them.
I speak for the thousand mothers who have been speaking forever but there is no-one
I speak for the thousand girls who want to speak but don’t have a voice.
I speak for the thousand children of Darfur because they can only speak in silence.
I speak so they can be heard.
Because I feel their pain.
When I was a little girl I used to cry
but only in silence
never showing my parents my tears
not even my siblings, or peers
because they told us if you showed people your tears, it meant you were afraid
it meant you were weak, it meant you were powerless
Yes I was young, but I knew I wasn’t weak, and I knew I wasn’t powerless
I had and still have a weapon
A voice that once it’s heard, demands attention
A voice that doesn’t only speak, but repeats
So I will speak so they can be heard.
Titi de Baccarat
Titi de Baccarat is a painter, sculptor, clothing designer, jeweler, and writer. Dedicated to justice in a hostile political context, he was forced to flee his country, Gabon, with only the wealth of his artistic ability. He has lived in Portland since February 2015, where he works through his African identity and artistic expertise to contribute to the culture of the city. He believes that art rehabilitates love, bringing together people of all countries, backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities.
Kifah Abdulla is an artist, poet, writer, teacher and activist, born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq. The real beginning for Abdulla as an artist started after he returned from eight years as a prisoner of war in Iran from1982-1991. Art became his main professional career. He worked to express his experience of time spent in prison, a theme that is still present in his work. In his current work started in Portland, he uses abstract Arabic letters as an essential element in his work. He is developing his style in the vast space of contemporary art in America. Abdulla has exhibited in Iraq, Jordan, Holland, and Portland, where he lives and works.. He published his first book of poetry in 2016.
List of Participating Artists*
Kifah Abdulla (Iraq) Poet & Painter
Titi De Baccarat (Gabon) Sculptor & Poet
Anna Mikuskova (Czech Republic) Photographer
Afshin Mahmoudi (Iran) Photographer & Musician
Ekhlas Ismail Ahmad (Darfur, Sudan) Poet
African Dundada (South Sudan) Musician & Composer
Mei Selvage (China) Painter
Burcin Kirik (Turkey) Painter
Akad Hamed (Iraq) Painter
Sofia Aldinio (Argentina) Photographer
Ebenezer Akakpo (Ghana) Jeweler/Designer
Christian Muhunde (Rwanda) Painter
Makumbundo Franciso (Congo) Painter
Edward Mbikiayi (DRC) Painter
Rabee Kiwan (Lebanon) Painter
Yelena Fiske (Russia) Painter
Sahro Abrahim (Somalia) Designer
Damir Porobic (Former Yugoslavia) Interdisciplinary Artist
Jean Medard Zulu (Congo) Painter
Aymen Khaleel (Iraq) Painter
Performing Artists at April 6th OPENING/Artists’ Reception
Ekhlas Ismail Ahmad (Darfur, Sudan) Poet
Kifah Abdulla (Iraq) Poet
AFRiCAN DUNDADA (South Sudan) Rap Musician/Composer
Jawad Alfatlawi (Iraq) Musician
Mei Selvage (China) Traditional Chinese Ink Block Brushwork
Yves Karubu (Burundi) Drummers/Dancers
Community Resource Leaders Represented
Zoe Sahloul (Lebanon) Activist/Organizer N.E. Arab American Organization
Bereket Bairu (Eritrea) Emergency Teacher/Tutor