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We Grow Accustomed to the Dark: a special exhibit in conjunction with the 6th annual Amherst Poetry Festival

Opening Reception: September 5th, 2018; 5 - 7 PM
Poetry Reading Event: September 21st, 2018; 5 - 6:30 PM

We Grow Accustomed to the Dark is an exhibition which investigates the role of identity in the current political climate by probing the connection between poetry and visual art. 11 visual artists and 4 poets come together as part of the 6th Annual Amherst Poetry Festival and draw on deeply rooted personal experiences to address the complexities of identity politics, class, gender, education, and (de)industrialization. Each piece is paired with poetry, a powerful combination that transforms both mediums, bringing a new range and rhythm to the gallery. At its heart, the exhibition asks the important question: how can a dialogue between visual art and poetry enrich creativity and stimulate a conversation surrounding contemporary political affairs?

The artists in this show are Amanda Boggs, Kathryn Fanelli, Kelsi Giguere, Francis Greenleaf, Althea Keaton, Nikki Maloof, Bibiana Medkova, Kenneth Murphy, Xuan Pham, Kelly Popoff, and Margaret Wilson. Their work encompasses a promising diversity of approaches and mediums, ranging from photography, video, animation, performance, painting, to installation. On September 21st, 2018, the gallery will host a live performance by participating artist, Amanda Boggs, and a poetry reading featuring contemporary poets— Leslie Edwards, Mia Kang, Nathalie Vicencio, and Sarah Sousa.

Please join us in celebrating this convergence of visual art and poetry.

The exhibition is curated by Omid Shekari, Lecturer in the Department of Art at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. An Iranian artist based in Amherst, Shekari's work captures stories which speak universally about how force and violence still determine the rhythms and laws of power within the human experience. He has recently shown at NADA NYC, Ohio State University, Marginal Utility Gallery, PAFA Museum, Gallery Joe, Woodmere Art Museum, American University and Fleisher Art Memorial. Shekari is currently a part of the Open Sessions program at Drawing Center, and has been a resident at Ox-Bow, MI; the Process Space Art Festival, Bulgaria; Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, ME; OMI International Art Center, NY; and Millay Colony, NY.

The Amherst Poetry Festival, now in its sixth year, is organized by the Emily Dickinson Museum and celebrates the literary legacy and contemporary creativity of the Pioneer Valley and beyond. In 2018, the Festival will take poetry off the shelf and bring it to the street, the gallery, the cemetery, and even the planetarium through a series of readings, workshops, and community events.


Procheta Olson