By Emma Leavitt for Brain Arts Org
May 1, 2020
In the growing category of “Things I Was Excited for That Got Cancelled by Corona”, the Dorchester Art Project Gallery programs are top tier. As Gallery Director, I curate with community and the Brain Arts Org mission first in mind. We had an awesome suite of shows lined up, and the thing I was looking forward to most was collaborating with some amazing curators, and seeing their vision come to life. In a non-Rona parallel universe, we would be opening the gallery this weekend for Bundok | Mountain, a pop up exhibition about intergenerational healing in communities of color curated by the Creatives of Color Collective, as part of ArtWeek Boston. Instead, the gallery sits empty and lonely. When I heard that they were planning a virtual panel (tomorrow, May 2nd at 7pm!) as part of Dunamis Boston’s Seeds of Joy Program, I was so excited. I feel the themes they are exploring with this show are more important now than ever, and I wanted to catch up with Tammi and Janette about how the show is progressing through this strange time.
Give us a little background on how the idea of Bundok | Mountain came to be, how did you two connect and what inspired you to co-curate this show?
"Bundok | Mountain" came out of a brainstorming session late last year between us, Sharmin Rahman, and Payal Kumar (two amazing artists who had participated in last year's show, "In-Between Spaces"). We were trying to figure out what next year's show theme would be and something just clicked for us all when someone mentioned intergenerational trauma. Our aim ended up being to not only acknowledge the pain from the trauma, but also the healing. There's a lot of negativity out there already, so by also asking people how they have healed/are beginning to heal from this trauma, we hope that it can also be a sort of cathartic release.
Tammi and I are old friends! We met in North Adams where we were both living and working for an arts non-profit there called the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center. Early 2019, we were hanging out and starting talking about what had seemed to us then, to be a lack of resources for POC artists. From there it kind of blossomed and we put on a popup show to see if we could, and we ended up just establishing Creatives of Color BOSTON. Right now, we're super energized by the support we've received since our first popup and are incredibly excited to continue our work for the community!
Creatives of Color founders Tammi Jean Fedestin and Janette Anne Santos on the Malden Community Access Television Station
What is your view of how intergenerational trauma relates to your personal creative and/or spiritual practice?
Like a lot of other artists, I draw from my own experiences, and that includes the pain of intergenerational trauma. In my particular case though, pain is exactly what drives my art. How that translates into my own creative and spiritual practice though, is an opportunity for me to mull over that pain, make sense of it, and eventually/hopefully make peace with it. Looking over the submissions that we had received from the open call in the first place, I know I'm definitely not alone there.
What were your responses to the submissions you received from the call for art! Did anything surprise you or enhance your understanding of the topic?
I think when Tammi and I began to review all of the submissions that we had received from artists, what struck us the most was how incredibly passionate every single person who applied to the call was! Wouldn't say we were surprised though, since Boston is chock full of talented people, but damn! Even less surprising, looking over all those submissions allowed us to feel lucky that we've found ourselves in a community of folks who understand how damaging the reverberations of intergenerational trauma can be.
What was your process in choosing the panelists for the May 2nd event?
Every single person is in some way, not only connected to Creatives of Color BOSTON, but also have intriguing thought processes, are incredibly well-spoken, and definitely have a lot to say on the topic of intergenerational trauma and healing. We're looking forward to not only having this discussion with the panel, but also opening it up to the audience as well.
Is the "Covid moment' causing you to think differently about the theme for this show? Or changing your perspective on intergenerational trauma in any way?
It's definitely causing us to think differently about the show in terms of how to present the work in the future in the Fall, while also making it accessible to an audience in a safe and responsible way. A symptom of us adapting to the "new normal." In the case of the panel, we've opted to bring it to a virtual WebEx platform to hopefully open it up to more folks.
Considering intergenerational trauma through the lens of quarantine, it's important now more than ever to focus on treating yourself kindly. There's nowhere else to go right now besides home, you spend so much time with yourself, it's hard to not reflect on the past and deal with the difficult feelings that might be associated with it. It's always a good move to try and prioritize your mental healing and health, but especially so now.
What is the best way to support Creatives of Color Collective right now- besides tuning in to the virtual panel ;)
Best way to support us is to not only tune into our virtual panel and interact with us and our panelists, but also to follow us on social media, go to our exhibit in the Fall (date TBD!), or even donate to our Paypal!