In Partnership with Piano Craft Gallery, 2023
Banner Art detail: Ruth K. Henry, "Release"
Trauma lives in our bodies. When triggered, it can lead us to freeze, flee or fight. But resilience also lives in our bodies, and we can remember what growing and transforming through our trauma feels like. As we remember, we can more easily find our way back to that resilience when faced with new triggers. In this piece, I release new triggers of old traumas by remembering what my Hip Hop family in Colombia taught me years ago about how to face violence and repression with art.
I make art because it tugs me, colors conjuring bones, stories I still carry, witness I have borne. Because I am in awe of how, in the midst of fear, art helps us rise again. Art is one of the strongest bridges I know, winding us between and across enemy lines, smudging borders like so much charcoal dust. It is an important part of how I pray. My artwork is an outstretched palm, seeking community, inviting dialogue. It is my way of asking people to add their own creativity into a collective vision for victory over our toughest struggles. Together we call on beauty to get us through the difficult questions. Although the pieces shown here are solo pieces, much of my current work uses a participatory call and response process to create public murals and installations. Firmly grounded in principles of nonviolence, prompts channel anger at unjust conditions towards a shared envisioning of future solutions. Participants are provided specific materials and palettes and invited to create a piece of the whole. These pieces are then integrated into the larger composition. My hope is that each new person’s idea, image, or text may feel like a discovery for the viewer, tucked in amidst the bright twists and turns of the whole. And that maybe, just maybe, this may ignite a viewer’s own ideas for solution-building, or move them closer to their own bit of reconciliation. This is my challenge, my striving, the urge that keeps me up at night. This is why I make art.
I am a mixed media artist who layers colors, texture and lyrics into intricate reflections on community, conflict, and possibility. In my installations, murals, and music I weave together the art and stories of surrounding communities. My belief in art’s power to unite people across painful divides is born of lived experiences as a socially engaged artist, both locally and globally. I have exhibited and performed locally at venues such as Boston Center for the Arts, Harvard University, Center for Latino Arts, Piano Factory and many others. I have also exhibited and performed internationally in venues such as the Palacio de Inquisición in Cartagena, Colombia, the Partners of the Americas Convention in Florianopolis, Brazil and the Srishti Institute of Art, Design & Technology in Bangalore, India. I received my BA from Hampshire College, continued my studies through a Fulbright grant to Colombia, and received my MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. I currently work as a teaching artist-in-residence.