Despite our empty gallery space and the hole it has left in our hearts, the spirit of contemporary art is like a flame which refuses to go out. Unable to sit and wait until summer to bring our community back together, we have designed a way to display relevant, local artworks while still practicing safe social distancing.
SoLA is pleased to feature a collage of works by Long Beach-based artist Nzuji De Magalhaes to activate the gallery’s street-facing windows. We have also partnered with independent collective SOVO// and Black artists collective and creative agency ZEAL Studios with a multi-media art installation including light, film, photography, and more.
This drive and walk-by window exhibit is an experimental approach to showcasing art while SoLA remains closed under California’s current quarantine orders. The window gallery exhibition, a first of its kind, will be on view beginning Monday, May 4th.
About the Installations
With a solo show at SoLA scheduled for April that was disrupted by the coronavirus, Nzuji De Magalhaes shares over 20 small works in the window exhibition from her Souvenirs collection. Souvenirs reflects on keeping memories of places, environment, stories and occurrences that De Magalhaes experienced during her childhood to present. Secondly, it reflects on tourism as a form of escapism as well as a source of misconceptions. The pieces document her years living the harsh life of Angola and of being a witness to the misconceptions and observation of those selling misguided images of her ethnic background to tourists.
The SOVO// section of windows will include a VHS-C moving image installation by filmmaker Milana Burdette and members of the SOVO/ film crew, inspired by SOVO//’s Department of Social Distancing project where callers leave a voicemail about their experiences and feelings in isolation; a b&w piece (3’ x 3’) by film photographer Niko Sonnberger; and a light installation incorporating the foliage in front of the gallery by lighting designer Ken Whiting.
ZEAL brings us two paintings created in isolation by one of their artists-in-residence, Avila Santo. A musician and visual artist, Santo’s style is rooted in the cosmologies of Ifa, Candomblé, Judaism and Capoeira, to name a few. Both of his pieces were influenced by covid times that have caused him to reflect on the inability to share physical space with friends and family.
And finally, we will have a dedicated window square featuring artwork created by the children of South LA’s Chesley Child Care preschool focusing on the theme, “Dream the Future You Want,” where SoLA invited them to dream about a new and improved world post-covid.