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Alumni from the renown Maine summer residency program Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture are mounting an exhibition Moved/Displaced at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA) January 6 – 27, 2024. Skowhegan Alliance has organized many art events in the New York area over the years, this is the first Skowhegan Alliance event organized for the west coast.
The exhibition Moved/Displaced features work addressing the themes of migration and displacement from a wide variety of perspectives. The show includes 28 artists working in a wide array of artistic mediums and methods. These artists are predominately based in Southern California and create their work with influences from a diverse set of backgrounds.
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture provides a collaborative and rigorous environment for participating artists. Skowhegan’s admissions process focuses solely on an individual’s commitment to artmaking and inquiry. The program is incredibly selective, accepting less than three percent of the applications it receives yearly. Alumni works can be found in major museums, galleries, and arts organizations around the world. The organization is known worldwide and boasts a robust alumni network.
Co-curators Annette Cyr and Rebecca Shippee are members of the Skowhegan Alliance, an alumni group dedicated to developing opportunities for the past participants of the Skowhegan residency program. They are both working artists, with an affinity for artist- run spaces. Individually, they have curated numerous exhibitions. Together, they previously served as co-curators of a two person show in the Skowhegan exhibition space in Chelsea, New York.
Eliseo Silva, Katayoun Vaziri, Jordan Wong, Abed Shalabi, Marcel Alcala, Amir Saadiq, Jann Nunn, Sterling Wells, Jenny Gagalka, Enrique MarInez Celaya, Abbey Williams, Carol Anne Mchrystal, Cynthia Phillips, Cameron Coffman, Julie Yeo, Debra Vodhanel, Thai Bui, Freddy Villalobos, Chrys Yin, Jose Sarinana, Eleanor Aldrich, Samar Alsemeiry, Cynthia Underwood, Mookwon Han, Kunlin He, Yoshie Sakai, Carlos Vielma, Sichong Xie
Selected quotes from some of the exhibiting artists about their work:
"I was born and raised in Santa Ana, Ca. My mom immigrated to the states in the 60s with my grandma. My grandmother worked the fields in Orange County with my mom and worked the production line at Vans when it was based in Santa Ana. This piece is about the cactus my grandma planted in my mother’s backyard and it is a metaphor for labor she worked to become a citizen in the US. A plant that continues to be used generation to generation making cactus salads and tacos. It’s in honor of their hard work.” - Marcel Alcala
"The piece "You Can't Find The Sun" looks at that moment of Palestinian and Arab activism in the 70s as a moment of revolution that never happened. The text in the piece is a quote from a 1975 literature piece by the Gaza-Born Palestinian Writer Ghassan Kanafani that deals with the Dead End he thinks the Arab world has reached. The piece deals with feelings of frustration, pessimism, and sexual repression and how they hide behind the illusion of modernity and advancement in the post-oil Arab world. By eliminating half of Kanafani's iconic quote, I suggest that the metaphoric finding of the sun has never happened, and we are still in that locked room.” - Abed Shalabi
"As a distinctive and widely practiced tradition within the Philippine archipelago, the gesture of pasalubong itself is abundantly meaningful beyond being a simple souvenir. A pre-colonial practice originating from long-distance inter-island trade, it is grounded in community building, in reciprocity, in sharing one’s good fortune, and in recognizing oneself in others— kapwa.” - Carol Anne Mcchrystal