Last month, after months of a COVID-19 shutdown, Atlanta Contemporary opened back up with an exhibition featuring artists from two decades of their studio artist program for a retrospective group show. The exhibition, “She Is Here” was curated in response to the frequent and historical exclusion or underrepresentation of women in art institutions, it “fosters women working with women, and women supporting women.” Among the artists included were nine female Welch faculty and alumni, representing half of the exhibition. The work in “She is Here,” “was informed by the wave of the pandemic, as well as the substantial shifts in race relations and massive social and political divides.”
Most of the work in the exhibition was newly made and many pieces were made on site as installations. Work by alumni included a sculpture by Lilliam Blades, two large sculptural installations by Inkyoung Chun, a textiles installation by Sonya Young James, photography by Sheila Pree Bright, and a sculpture by Jane Foley. Photo faculty Jill Frank showed a video (with audio work by Nikita Gale), following the daily life and quiet moments of Renegade inventor and TikTok star, Jalaiah Harmon. Drawing painting faculty Pam Longobardi made an immersive and meditative installation with sculpture, video, light, and audio in the Shoot Space, that simulated the experience of cave diving. Ceramics faculty Christina West constructed an interactive room that mirrored the work of her recent Residency with Dashboard, that flips the voyeuristic gaze.
The show didn’t just feature alumni and faculty from the Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design, it was also curated by one. “She is Here,” was co-curated by Kristen V. Cahill, Independent Curator and Curator at The Lola, and Georgia State Art History Alumna, Daricia Mia DeMarr, Independent Curator and co-founder of Black Women in Visual Art.