February 7, 2018 – April 24, 2018
“Journey,” the newly installed art exhibition by Ethiopian-born artist Debebe Tesfaye, inspired by the colorful cityscapes of Ethiopia and its people, remind one of jazz. People with their varied and colorful dresses ride Tesfaye’s canvases and look out at the old houses and their doors and windows. The roofs, walls, and telephone poles tell a story. Happy or sad, young or old, his people share the same journey and meet on his canvases. Tesfaye improvises with different mediums and uses some alphabets, creating collages that have a visual harmony. His focus is more on the composition and the overall form than the details.
Tesfaye graduated from the Addis Ababa University Ale School of Fine Arts and Design in 1999.
Hyun Jung Kim
Blind in Art: One
November 8, 2017 – February 6, 2018
I am currently making jewelry and gold crowns as mediators to remind audiences of the overlooked precious value and reason of each creation. Each crown has words in Braille on it and people are encouraged to wear it. I recently made the crown of Martin Luther King Jr. and wrote “I have a dream” in Braille on it. Although I titled it as Martin Luther King Jr.’s crown, it is actually not the crown for him but the crown for us. By wearing this crown, I intend for participants to remember that this crown of human equality, rights, and freedom was not gained for free, and that there was a lot of work and sacrifice throughout history to make this crown possible. With this crown, I also made a panel featuring Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech, which is intended to remind viewers of his demonstration for human rights and equality. I found these statements to be very precious, so I used precious materials such as gold leaf and pearls. I wanted to reveal his sacrificial effort and process of the work, so I dyed silk string with wine to symbolize “sacrifice” and exposed the sewing process in the front. In this context, I have memorialized Bob Dylan’s song “Blowing in the Wind” in panels as well. Another large group of panels is my “Love” project. We are currently in a multi-cultural, “Nomad” society and often use multiple languages. I tried to visualize our life with those languages and layered multiple languages to make one image. By combining languages, I intend to make my own visual language to reflect our life. Some language combinations are made intentionally with languages from two rival countries with the hope for unity, at least visually, in my work.
While visitors are having a playful time with the crowns and reading golden precious words on the wall in this exhibition, “One;원;ㅇ”, I challenge viewers to ask themselves who they are and to find their own answers, recognizing that these answers could act as a positive factor in the lives of others. I hope that each guest realizes, “Whether I look tedious or have been treated poorly, I am fearfully and wonderfully created and each of us is ONE precious being.”
Hyun Jung Kim 김 현 정
Kim is an internationally known artist who studied sculpture for her BFA (1998) and MFA (2000) at Seoul National University. After graduation, she had her first solo exhibition at the KumSan Gallery in 2001. Kim has exhibited in numerous group exhibitions in Korea, including the YoungEun Contemporary Art Museum and WooDuck Gallery.
In 2002, Kim moved to the United States and studied studio art at Montclair State University, where she received her second MFA. Upon graduation from Montclair State, Kim won the prestigious “Dean’s Artist/Scholar Graduate Award” of the College of Arts. She has taught students at MSU for 9 years as an Adjunct Professor.
Kim was invited to the 19th International Jewelry Art Symposium in 2007, where she collaborated with world-renowned contemporary jewelry artists. Her work is part of the permanent collection of the Museum Turnov, Czech Republic. Kim shows her works in the New York metropolitan Area. She recently curated group exhibitions, including “Metal as a Medium” (2014) and “Hanguel, about its Beauty” (2016), and has shown her featured work, crowns, at her solo exhibitions “Decorated” (2015) and “Kings” (2016). In 2016, Kim was selected as an Associate Artist at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria. She had a Woman’s History Month Featured Artist show “She” (2017) to introduce her works to the greater Washington, DC, metropolitan area.
Hyun Jung Kim has participated in the Art Hampton (2016), Singapore Contemporary (2017), Art Busan (2017), and Asia Contemporary Hong Kong (2017) art fairs to share her works with international art lovers and professionals.
Brikena Boci and Jane Doe #1
October 5, 2017 – November 30, 2017
(Upstairs Gallery 2nd Floor)
Upstairs Gallery “Anonime” (Anonymous), an exhibition of embroidered portraits by Albanian- American artist Brikena Boci, will be on view in the Upstairs Gallery from October 5 – November 30. This startling fibre art consists of moving embroidered portraits of Kosovar-Albanian women who were raped, killed, or trafficked during the war. Jane Doe #1, who wishes to remain anonymous and is featured in the documentary I AM JANE DOE, created her untitled painting while hospitalized for overwhelming depression and PTSD.
The war in Albania and Kosovo that I experienced at a young age has become a major theme of my work. The attention is brought to the violence, chaos, oppression, abuse of power, and victimization of people. The work bears witness to innocent victims in these territories.
My work becomes a large mass of massacred bodies of victims, as well as symbols representing the powerful abusers. I represent the human body in its most grotesque form caused by genocide, violence and political conﬂicts.
In this body of work called “Anonime” or “Anonymous”, I have embroidered portraits of Kosovar-Albanian women, who were raped and killed during the war, or who fell victims of human trafficking. Their identities and real names were never revealed to the general public, due to their fear of being judged by society or captured again by human traffic predators. Their portraits serve as memorials of these innocent women, and their families.
My work talks about the physical, emotional and psychological injuries that are caused by human trafficking. By addressing these experiences in my homeland of Albania, I want to reach a broad audience concerning the devastating impact of human trafficking. Additionally, my work bears witness to the victims in the hope that their experiences and their pain will be revealed to the larger global community—and that such traumatic events will never happen again.
Brikena Boci is a working artist living in Georgia. She was born in Vlore, Albania but moved to the USA in 2003 to pursue a BA of art from “Western Michigan University” in Michigan where she graduated with honors in 2006. She than relocated to Illinois to further her education in art at “Northern Illinois University”, where she graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts in 2010.
She began to make art at a very young age, at age 15 she was accepted into one of the best art academies “Naim Frasheri Art Academy” in Albania, where she received her professional training in drawing and painting, and started exhibiting her work in various art galleries.
Brikena primarily works with repurposed fibers, she refers back to her childhood growing up in a communist country and not being exposed to many toys, as a child she had to make her own dolls using repurposed materials. Her work expands from handmade embroidery to soft sculpture, drawing, painting and installation. Brikenas’ work is inspired by her growing up in a territory that was under communist dictatorship, that underwent the fall of communism, political chaos, civil war, and that became the bridge for human trafficking. Moving to another country, as an adult, and experiencing the life of an immigrant, issues of self-identity and adjustment, have added another layer to the thematic of her work. She hopes to address her personal experiences of war, human trafficking, social and political abuse, issues of self- identity and life as an immigrant to a larger global community.
Her work has been exhibited in many galleries:
Human trafficking, Gallery 72, 2015. Emory University, 2015. Studio 905 on Juniper, Atlanta Ga. Juried Group Shows New Age, Art Gallery, Tirane, Albania (Fall 2012) Small Worlds. Splash Art Gallery, Vlore, Albania (2012). CFAAN Annual Chicago Fringe, Red Tape Theater, Chicago, (summer 2012). Reinvented, ARC Women’s Gallery, featured in Art Slant, Chicago,( Spring 2012). Chicago War Series Exhibit, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago,( Fall 2011). Beast Art Show, Dispatch Gallery, Chicago, (Fall 2011). Hypa, Hyde Park Alliance for Arts And Culture, Chicago, (Spring 2011). Revamped Eco Art Show, Bridgeport Art Center, Chicago, (Spring 2011). A Whole New Mind-Brainstorm, Juried Show Governor State University, Illinois, (Spring 2011). The Women Artist Show, The Urban Art Retreat, Chicago, (Spring 2011). Art Here Art Now, Juried show, University Of Chicago, Chicago, (Fall 2010). Art Prize, Juried Art Festival; Grand Rapids, Michigan, (Fall 2010). Juried Union League Civic and Arts Foundation Show; Union League Club, Spring 2010, Chicago, IL. Juried Graduate Student Show; Northern Illinois University, (Fall 2009) Juried 5th Annual National Exhibition; 33 Collective Gallery, (2009), Chicago, IL. Juried Graduate Student Show. Northern Illinois University, (Fall 2008) Illinois Student Show. 33 Collective Gallery, (2008), Chicago, IL. Statewide Student Competition; Lansing, Michigan, (February 2005). World Peace Initiative Project; Kalamazoo, Michigan, (April 2005). Solo Shows The Return, Solo Show, Vlore Art Gallery, Vlore, Albania (2011) Myself and Me, Solo Show, Vlore Art Gallery, Vlore, Albania(2012) MFA Show; Northern Illinois University, (Spring 2010) Awards & Grants Northern Illinois University, Full Tuition Scholarship, (2007-2010) Northern Illinois University, Graduate Assistantship, (2008-2010) Mention, Juried Union League Civic and Arts Foundation Show; Union League Club, (2010) Chicago. Western Michigan University, Student Honors Tittle: Summa Cum Laude, Kalamazoo, Michigan (2006). School of Art Enrichment Grant; Western Michigan University,( February 2005). Kerr Award, BFA Student Show Western Michigan University, (March 2005). Featured Artist in Art Hash, online art journal, (2009-Present). North Central Art Festival, Art Projects, Chicago, Illinois ( 2012). Collaborative “Home” Installation with Guerra De La Paz; Northern Illinois University, Spring 2010. Graduate Student Show; Northern Illinois University, Spring 2010. Graduate Student and Alumni, Northern Illinois University, Fall 2009. Collaborative Student Show, Northern Illinois University Fall 2009. Bad Dog Galleries, Fringe, Fall 2008, DeKalb, IL. Watercolor Exhibit, Saniwax Gallery; Kalamazoo, Michigan, February 2005. Student Exhibit; Western Michigan University, November 2004. Watercolor Exhibit; Rotunda Gallery, Western Michigan University, November 2003. Exhibit; Tirane, Albania 2003 Youth Exhibit, Vlore, Albania. 2000 Painting Exhibit Vlore, Albania 1999. Watercolor Exhibit, Tirane, Albania 1998
JANE DOE #1
“While in the hospital, I created this painting.
I was being treated for overwhelming depression and PTSD.
I consider my art to be therapeutic as well as inspiration for myself and hopefully others.
Painting gives me a sense of peace and calmness. I often use trees in my art. To me trees symbolize life, growth, strength, movement, diversity, chaos, and serenity.”
Patterns + Colors + Shapes
September 7, 2017 – November 7, 2017
Margaret Kepner is an artist living in Washington, DC. Throughout her life, she has been inspired by the beauty of art and the logic of mathematics. Margaret studied math in college and graduate school, but always maintained a strong commitment to making art. Her career has included a variety of positions: astronomer, teacher, programmer, and information systems manager. Recently, she has had more time to concentrate on her creative interests.
Margaret’s artwork involves the artistic expression of logical systems through attributes such as pattern, color, and shape. Her math background yields subject matter to explore, including puzzles and games. Her interest in art provides a visual vocabulary and cultural references. In the current WNDC exhibition, Margaret Kepner presents a selection of her prints, all of which derive from mathematical concepts transformed into a personal and multilayered art form.
April 27, 2017 – September 5, 2017
Sharmila Kapur was born in India and moved to the United States in her early twenties. As a child she enjoyed drawing and painting immensely, but did not get the opportunity to attend art school. Instead, she studied psychology. After completing her masters degree from Columbia University, New York, she worked for several years in the US private sector and an international development organization. During these years, Sharmila retained her passion for art and dreamt of becoming an artist one day. Today, she lives her dream, having graduated from the Master Artists Program at The Compass Atelier, Maryland and works as an artist in Washington D.C. Sharmila has lived in New Delhi, New York, Sydney and Singapore and continues to travel extensively, drawing inspiration for her art from people and places. Sharmila Kapur’s exhibition at the WNDC focuses on flowers. Bold and simple, white or colorful, Sharmila’s flowers represent life’s transience. Her paintings attempt to capture the joy of color and light as represented in the lines and curves of petals. For Sharmila, each flower is a character with its own unique story.
Michelle René Cobb
The Art of Seeing: A Retrospective
February 2, 2017 – April 25, 2017
“In my work I seek to see life in a deeper way, to see the invisible qualities, the ever-changing atmosphere, capturing a moment in time. Seeing is something you feel, experience and study, requiring a sustained and persistent focus. Looking and actually seeing is not the same thing. My mentor Edward Loper, Sr. once said, “Seeing is a learned thing. It’s not a natural instinct, and once you’ve learned to see, the world will never look the same to you.”
My goal is to bring the viewer into my vision. I do not worry about focusing on the objects or the subjects before me. My focus is on creating a work of art using my knowledge of color, light and a well-designed composition to seize a particular moment in time. Once I have completely surrendered to seeing, it is then in that space, that I can create.
My work as a professional artist spans four decades of my life, which includes many years as a Time-Life designer / art director, and educator. My culminating years of experience as a designer and fine artist are present in all of my work. I am inspired by the design I see in nature, whether it’s in the rugged mountains of Europe, the natural beauty of Martha’s Vineyard and Chadds Ford, a remote village in West Africa, or the urban beauty of Washington, DC.
Plein air painting in these beautiful locations is a major part of developing my vision.”
–Michelle René Cobb
November 14, 2016 – February 1, 2017
Indian born, Vatsala Menon discovered her love for painting late in life. She has since successfully exhibited at various locations throughout Washington, Virginia and Maryland, such as Glenview Mansion, Montpelier Arts Center, Maryland Federation of Arts Charity Auction, Montpelier Art Gallery and recently at the Maryland Hall for Creative Arts in Annapolis.
“Art is the very essence of my being. She nourishes me, energizes, gives me pure joy and tranquility of the mind. I became a serious artist late in life, a mid-life re-birth of sorts.
My art is about feelings, emotions, impression of the mind. The human mind has always fascinated me. I paint what I feel and sense, not what I see in the material world. Colors, rich and intense, free flowing styles, express my inner thoughts and I translate them on the canvas. Art has to have a narrative, excite the viewers, intrigue them to make them want to explore the artist’s mind through the paintings.
My lifelong fascination to unlock the mystery of the moon led me to conceptualize my inner vision of the moon on canvas and thus the Moon Series was developed.
The times that we are living in now, surrounded by violence, unspeakable acts of terror and destruction and a lack of compassion and civility in the world prompted me to take a hard look within my artistic soul and this led me to paint the War Series.
In Picasso’s words, ‘Art washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday Life’.”
Sariah Sami Najam
Ever Changing Horizons
September 15, 2016 – November 8, 2016
Sariah Sami Najam, a graduate of the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, DC, is a painter who celebrates the beauty and experience of the natural world around her. Her depiction of her memories, derived from her various travels around the world, is both intense and dramatic. Her work, which uses her travels as a starting point, provides a seamless transition and transformation of reality to imagination and then abstraction. Her inspiration is derived from natural elements, and her philosophical inclinations then are superimposed on renderings with a worldly backdrop. The natural elements provide the building blocks but are molded into and arranged according to her imagination and philosophy.
A Passion for Florals
May 19 2016—September 13, 2016
Sharon Fox-Mould, a fine artist whose medium includes acrylic on canvas and photography.
Sharon’s Hibiscus won second prize in UTRECHT 60th anniversary art competition in 2009.
Sharon has participated in many exhibitions mounted by the Jamaica Guild of Artists. As a guest of the National Museum and Art Gallery of Trinidad and Tobago and the Mayor of Port of Spain, she exhibited in the “Celebration of Jamaican Art Exhibition”, which marked the anniversary of the twinning of the cities of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Kingston, Jamaica. Her paintings joined those of esteemed African American artists at the National Black Fine Art Show at the Puch Center in New York City. Her work is widely collected by individuals and corporations in Jamaica, the United States and Canada. Especially notable is the prestigious Pehl Collection in Eldersberg, MD, the Vincent D’Aguliar Collection in Nassua, Bahamas, and The Bank of Jamaica Collection.
Beauty within Destruction
February 3, 2016—April 19, 2016
Artist Statement: Beauty within Destruction represents exploration of the environmental impact and visual beauty of petroleum. Petroleum is a versatile substance, and comes in many types serving a variety of applications. This collection focuses on petroleum because of its impact on my childhood home, using acrylic paint (a petroleum byproduct).
When I was a sophomore in High School, my family was notified that our neighbor’s oil tank had leaked 1,000 gallons of petroleum underneath our home. This incident turned into a five-year legal and emotional battle for our personal well-being and safety. Living through this experience I have developed an emotional fascination with the concept of oil spills. They create an immense amount of destruction, yet there is something beautiful about them. I find beauty in the way the light reflects off the surface of oil spills creating iridescent colors. My intention is to create a metaphorical balance of beauty and destruction in my work.
Biography: Julia Kron is a Northern Virginia area artist and elementary school art teacher. She focuses on acrylic painting but has a love for all mediums. She received a B.F.A. with honors from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, in Studio Art, concentrating in painting & drawing. She received her K-12 Art Teaching certification as well as minors in Art History and Theatre.
Nov. 12, 2015 – Feb. 12, 2016