The Project for Empty Space art gallery sits amidst a stream of workers and commuters inside downtown Newark's Gateway Center. For the next few weeks, the gallery will be an island for those seeking to examine a feminist perspective of the world.
The gallery is featuring Narrative Threads, a group exhibition of work by Aimee Gilmore, Katrina Majkut, Julie Marie Seibert, fayemi shakur, Sara Jimenez, and Sophia Wallace, until April 24. The exhibition is a culmination of work created by the artists during their residency at the annual Feminist Incubator. The Incubator is a series of short-term residencies, happenings, conversations, performances, and public discourses focusing on the empowerment and freedom of women. It is now a part of the Project for Empty Space's annual program, and will provide ongoing opportunities to female-identified artists.
Jasmine Wahi, co-director for Project for Empty Space, noted how she hoped the work, presented via poetry, textile/thread-based work, interactive installation, among other art forms, will resonate with viewers.
"This is about creating equitable space," said Wahi. "Historically in arts and culture, women have been marginalized. This work shows that women are combating that marginalization. We are taking back space."
Aimee Gilmore's interactive installation allows participants to listen to women's stories of giving birth, told by weaving the words to follow along to common lullabies, including "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star", "Hush Little Baby", and "All the Pretty Little Horses."
"Giving birth is the exact moment of a woman's transformation into motherhood. It is a physical, emotional, and spiritual shift of energy to the baby," said Gilmore as she showed her daughter Maya around the exhibition. "Telling the mother's birth story is a way to draw some focus back to the mother at that very powerful, transformative moment. They are stories that need to be shared."