Artist Statement: Jada Wooten '20
While I had the opportunity to plan and set up my exhibit, I did not have the chance to take exhibition photos. Since Covid-19 unexpectedly resulted in the closure of my school for the remainder of the year. Accordingly, we are submitting a modified version of my exhibition, which reflects the intended order of the pieces.
My exhibit explores social change. Some pieces address the general need for social change like the black ink print of Power Fists. Since black is used for silhouettes or to convey a general message. However, through Power Fists, I was also able to depict specific societal issues. For instance, by painting a rainbow watercolor background, I presented LGBTQ+ community’s fight to be accepted. Meanwhile, by making prints with blue and pink watercolor backgrounds, I demonstrated the need for gender equality.
I also depicted gender inequality in pieces like Women Cards, Fire Girl, Water Women, and Women Hold up the House. I captured the need for environmental change through Power Fists with green ink, my Mother Nature mosaic, and The Packaging Project. Additionally, I showed the need to improve race relations by printing Power Fists in orange, the color of racial activism. Also, I created the Covered series and Voicing Your Vote to address issues people of color face. While it was challenging to ensure my work examined a range of societal problems, my biggest problem was deciding the pieces’ arrangement.
I wanted the focal point of my exhibit to be the Mother Nature mosaic because it is one of my largest pieces. Accordingly, I placed the mosaic in the glass casing in the center. This location was fitting because Mother Nature explores conserving the environment, and preserving the piece in the glass casing conveys the need for environmental protection. I also placed Fire Girl and Water Women in the glass casing. Since the two portraits and the mosaic are a three-part series, exploring societal beauty standards. Specifically, I wanted to show the subtle beauty of women of color and their hair, so I highlighted their hair by incorporating the natural elements, fire, water, and earth.
The role of nature in the three works touches on environmental issues. By having the focus of the pieces be women of color, I explored societal ideas of race and gender. Since this series summarizes several of the societal concerns my exhibit addresses, climate change, racism, and gender inequality, I made the series central to my exhibit.
The left panels of my exhibit delve into specific societal issues. The leftmost panel’s artwork emphasizes reform. At the top Voicing Your Vote shows ease for white voters and obstacles for voters of color, conveying the need for voting reform. The Covered series in the middle, contains saran wrapped portraits of black individuals. The female figure has the saran wrap and a translucent covering, which dilutes the colors of the portrait, showing society’s whitewashing dilutes a person of color’s identity. Meanwhile, the male figure’s saran wrap has black on the edges, symbolizing imprisonment. Particularly, the high incarceration rates of people of color, and society’s poor treatment of convicts of color. Ultimately, the portraits reveal society’s need to reform their perspective on race.
Finally, the piece at the bottom of the leftmost panel, Women in STEM: Do You Recognize Them?, highlights education reform. Specifically, changing lessons to include more minorities. The inner left panel is focused on empowerment. The bottom piece, Women Cards, empowers women to come together because they are all connected by their femininity. While The Packaging Project in the middle shows self-empowerment. Since it addresses how preserving the environment through upcycling empowers me. Finally, the top piece, Women Hold up the House, aims to empower mothers by highlighting their strength as crucial to keeping the household afloat.
My exhibit’s final piece, Power Fists, is located on the right panels. As aforementioned, by experimenting with ink and background color, I depicted different social issues. However, all six prints promote activism since fists are a symbol of change connected to protests. By having the final piece in my exhibit promote activism and protesting, I hoped the lasting idea of my exhibit is the need to take action against injustices.