When: Sept. 5-Oct. 31 2014
To celebrate the fourth anniversary of Betti Ono (1427 Broadway, Oakland), gallery director Anyka Barber decided to reflect on the past by looking forward. For Amen, Oakland artists Amaryllis De Jesus Moleski and Kholi partnered to create a show that depicts an idealized present by envisioning it as a future history, with a focus on the inclusion of marginalized, queer people of color. The show features paintings by Moleski with poetry by Kholi interspersed among the works and written using cutout, water-colored letters, dreamily articulating the myth that Moleski illustrates. Moleski’s paintings collapse temporal context, telling a future that draws heavily from the past. The women she depicts float weightlessly, without a setting to restrain them. They have exaggerated proportions, with massive hands, feet, and large, powerful limbs, reminiscent of old renderings of Amazonian warrior women. They sport sneakers and 1980s-esque spandex getups, and hold guitars and gemmed scepters — all in a pastel palette. Moleski also used pastel-colored synthetic hair to weave a number of textiles emblazoned with ancient geometric symbols. She is interested in complicating the Western understanding of history and craft, showing that practices such as hair-braiding are just as culturally important as traditional artistic crafts. How will queer communities of color be remembered in the future? Together, Moleski and Kholi aim to answer that question through artistic determination.