St. John's University opens two art exhibitions about 2020's unprecedented challenges

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St. John's University opens two art exhibitions about 2020's unprecedented challenges
Azikiwe Mohammed, Sites of Continuance #4, 2021, embroidered quilt, 23 x 29 inches. Image courtesy the artist.

QUEENS, NY.- St. John’s University’s Dr. M.T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery announced the opening of two new art exhibitions about the historic challenges of the year 2020: Azikiwe Mohammed: 11439 - 39202 and Unprecedented: Posters from a World on Pause. Azikiwe Mohammed: 11439 - 39202 on view at the Yeh Art Gallery from Feb. 10 - April 25 and Unprecedented: Posters from a World on Pause is an online exhibition on view at from Feb. 1 - March 30.

11439 - 39202 is the first exhibition to focus on Mohammed’s fiber art, presenting a new series of large-scale quilted and embroidered works. Produced on the occasion of this exhibition, the works are inspired by stories from Queens residents during 2020, as well as Mohammed’s own excursions through Queens. Through fiber art, this exhibition looks at the larger underlying issues of inequality the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare in places like Jamaica, Queens and Jackson, Mississippi as told through the lived experiences of the people most effected, the Black, brown, and marginalized communities across the country. These quilts are displayed in an immersive log-cabin environment, reminiscent of the domestic spaces where quilts have traditionally been produced. Azikiwe Mohammed: 11439 - 39202 is generously supported by The Coby Foundation, Ltd.

Unprecedented: Posters from a World on Pause is the first virtual exhibition created by students in the M.A. Museum Administration program: Taylor Lyons ’21, Madeleine Schulz ‘21, Stephanie Zambrana ‘21, and Mengke Zhang ’22. The exhibition features approximately thirty-five posters, gifs and videotapes selected from artworks made available by the activist organization Amplifier Foundation, and by The United Nations (in partnership with the UK-based online art network and brand collaboration agency, Talenthouse Business). From the thousands of artworks submitted and made available through free, public domain/fair use downloads available on the organizations’ websites, the student curators researched and organized the exhibition around themes of “Borderless Hygiene,” “Social Justice Amidst a Pandemic,” “What We Owe Each Other” and “Pandemic Heroes.” Their three-dimensional virtual exhibition includes interactive labels that contain the students’ research on every exhibited artifact. Dr. Susan Rosenberg, Director of the M.A. Museum program, who oversaw the student’s curatorial project commented, “I hope visitors also take time to visit the virtual exhibition’s second room, where they can watch a thirty-minute videotaped conversation among the student curators about their collaborative work to realize this impressive project.”

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