Work on the Walls
Art and language each empower humans to express emotions and ideas. When combined in the form of murals and graffiti art, they have immense ability to convey complex thoughts and reach numerous people in public spaces. What is the potential impact for social change? What does it mean for women to harness this potential? How can the perspectives of women and nonbinary people illuminate this distinctive medium? Join us for a conversation with mural artist MISS CHELOVE, visual artist and filmmaker Michelle Angela Ortiz, and mixed-media artist Nekisha Durrett as they answer these questions and explore connections between art and language.
Reception to follow.
About the Artists
Cita Sadeli, also known as MISS CHELOVE, is an independent Washington D.C.-based art director, muralist, designer, and illustrator, who recently covered NMWA’s building façade with her work Reseeded: A Forest Floor Flow. MISS CHELOVE’s creative output is informed by her multicultural background rooted in the tropical mysticism of Java, Indonesia, and her formative years growing up in the punk, go-go, and graffiti-fueled streets of ’80s/’90s Washington, D.C. Currently, MISS CHELOVE’s practice is focused on mural projects around the world. When not scaling walls, she collaborates with communities and clients such as Adobe, the Afropunk and Trillectro Music Festivals, &Pizza, Apple, Patagonia, the Phillips Collection, and the Smithsonian Institution.
Michelle Angela Ortiz is a visual artist, skilled muralist, community arts educator, and filmmaker who uses her art as a vehicle to represent people and communities whose histories are often lost or co-opted. Through community arts practices, painting, documentaries, and public art installations, she creates a safe space for dialogue around some of the most profound issues communities and individuals may face. Ortiz is a 2021 Art is Essential Grantee, a 2020 Art For Justice Fund Grantee, a Pew Fellow, Rauschenberg Foundation Artist as Activist Fellow, and a Kennedy Center Citizen Artist National Fellow. In 2016, she received the Americans for the Arts’ Public Art Year in Review Award which honors outstanding public art projects in the nation.
Nekisha Durrett is a mixed-media artist who employs the visual language of mass media to bring forward the unsung histories of objects, places, and words. Her expansive practice includes public art, social practice, installation, murals, painting, sculpture, and design. Recent installations include a solar-powered sculpture that evokes the history of Washington, D.C.’s landscape and architecture; a public sculpture made in collaboration with artist Hank Willis Thomas in Miami, Florida; and a permanent installation in the newly renovated Martin Luther King, Jr. Library in Washington, D.C. Her series Magnolia (2021), comprising leaves perforated with the names of women murdered by law enforcement, was exhibited at Marymount University’s Cody Gallery and at the Atlanta Biennial.
About Women, Arts, and Social Change
Women, Arts, and Social Change is a public programs initiative that highlights the power of women and the arts as catalysts for change. Fresh Talk, the initiative’s signature program, features cause-driven conversations with leading artists, designers, activists, social innovators, and others.
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