NEW YORK, NY.- http://www.jenkinsjohnsongallery.com" target="_blank">Jenkins Johnson Projects is presenting The Least Orthodox Goddess IV, a group exhibition curated by Jasmine Wahi featuring works by Felipe Baeza, David Antonio Cruz, Darío Calmese, Delano Dunn, Jonathan Gardenhire, Daniel de Jesus, Billy Ray Morgan, Zachary Richardson, and Kiyan Williams. The Least Orthodox Goddess IV is part of an ongoing series of exhibitions that originally started as an exploration of intersectional feminism through the lens of womxn power. IV dives into the idea of what constitutes female identity within the contemporary context: it looks at what it means to be a goddess outside of the constraints of physiological or socially constructed expectations: what it means to be cis vs trans vs non-binary, what it means to be of color vs black vs white vs brown, what it means to be subjugated and/or be venerated. This exhibition implores us to contend with grey areas within a larger system that is rooted in binary understandings of everything the world has to offer.
Within this framework, many works in the exhibition dive further into the idea of how divinity is determined. It urges the viewer to examine the parameters or boundaries of who/what is venerated within the rigid mainstream structure of social acceptability. It strives to highlight persons who have bent, flexed, and subverted the notions of what does or does not define the feminine or femme. Some of the female identified persons who are portrayed in this iteration of The Least Orthodox Goddess IV have been victims of unimaginable violence (physical, psychological, and cultural) because of their identities- be they gender orientation, sexual orientation, cultural affiliation, and/or racial presentation. The exhibition seeks to honor their strength and sacrifice while exploring the idea of culturally non-specific trope of goddess.
As with other exhibitions in this series, IV, takes a survey approach to the topic of gender empowerment, identity, and violence. It looks at a wide range of examples as an indicator of the pervasiveness of gender and sexual discrimination across identities and cultures, with a particular emphasis on bodies of color. The overarching thread amongst the works is not only to acknowledge a violence; but also, to celebrate those who have been rendered invisible or unimportant by sharing their stories.
Jasmine Wahi is a Curator, Activist, and the Founder and Co-Director of Project For Empty Space. Her practice predominantly focuses on issues of female empowerment, complicating binary structures within social discourses, and exploring multi-positional cultural identities through the lens of intersectional feminism. Wahi is also on faculty at the School of Visual Arts: MFA Fine Arts, where she focuses on Intersectional Feminism and Art Praxis.