On Saturday, May 12th, teens from across New York City and beyond gathered at The Dedalus Foundation in Sunset Park to celebrate the end of the Teen Reviewers and Critics semester and the opening of the Teens Curate Teens exhibition. The event was a culmination of months of coordination and collaboration between ArtsConnection’s Teen Advisory Council (TAC), teen curators, teen artists, and The Dedalus Foundation. Both the art and the activities focused on the theme “What About Us?”. The work dealt with difficult topics, ranging from loss, to racism, to violence. TAC members made sure to address these matters head-on through their programming. The “Step-In, Step-out” activity, protest art and buttons, and spoken word performances all mirrored the subject matter of the art. This allowed attendees to interact with the theme and to connect it to their own experiences.
The great variety in styles further embodied a purpose of the exhibition: to reflect the identities of the artists themselves. We cannot be sure if Devi is rooted in Nabeeha Anwar’s own life or observations, but we do know that the precise and delicate use of pearls to frame the subject’s face reflects the artist’s personal vision of style and beauty, and is therefore a response to the theme even on the physical level. Some artists, such as Martyna Kaminska, created pieces that do not identify the forgotten or marginalized group which they represent. This makes the ice-dusted, word-covered sneakers mysterious, and causes viewers to question if their own actions (or perhaps lack thereof) have prompted people to become unnoticed or forgotten.
Devi, by Nabeeha Anwar
TAC Teens making buttons
Checking out Sabrina Ring’s signature image, entitled ‘What About Us?’