Borders, Bodies, Bridges

The Role of Artists in Times of Crisis

VIRTUAL ROUNDTABLE
April 21, 2020
4:00 pm EST

Attend the RoundtableSee the Exhibition

A virtual roundtable with Palestinian artist Malak Matar in conversation with:

  • Brian Alves
  • Katrina Everett
  • Konner Crewe
  • Barbara Gilbert
  • Ingrid Hess
  • JuPong Lin
  • Tracey Bigelow Grisman
  • Simona Sharoni
Simona Sharoni

Simona Sharoni

Director, Interdisciplinary Institute

Simona Sharoni is Director of the Interdisciplinary Institute and professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Merrimack College in North Andover, MA. Sharoni is the author of Gender and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Politics of Women’s Resistance, and co-editor of the Handbook of Gender and War and over 60 scholarly publications. She has two book manuscripts forthcoming next year: Gender and Queer Resistance in Palestine and Israel and De-Militarizing Masculinities in the Age of Backlash (Rowan & Littlefield).  Sharoni’s contribution to the project included working to integrate the exhibit and artists into the Merrimack curriculum as well as use it to nurture campus-community collaborations.

Konnor Crewe

Konnor Crewe

"Outsider" Artist

Konnor Crewe is an outsider artist who holds a B.A. degree in Linguistics with specialization in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Konnor’s medium is Charcoal and Acrylic, in some cases Monotonal. Konnor likes subjects of historic significance and frequently chooses themes with a gender subtext, such as the emotion of a male parent in the context of potential child separation

Ingrid Hess

Ingrid Hess

Graphic Designer and Illustrator

Ingrid Hess is a graphic design professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, a book designer and an artist. Her work is heavily influenced by her roots. The theme of simplicity comes from her Amish/Mennonite heritage. The bright colors and patterns are inspired by art from Costa Rica (her childhood home for four years). Hess has an MFA in graphic design with an emphasis in the book arts from Indiana University and worked in publishing for 12 years prior to joining academia. Her dual passions of design and illustration work well together and help her tell stories through pictures. Hess’ work focuses on social justice issues and ways in which design can empower children to better understand and engage with these issues. Hess’s recent work has addressed issues of fair trade, environmentalism, immigration, peace, consumption, and literacy.

Visit Ingrid’s Website

Malak Mattar

Malak Mattar

Featured Artist

Malak Matar is a 20 year old woman artist from the Gaza Strip, Palestine who is currently attending Istanbul Aydin University in Istanbul, Turkey. She first started painting at age 13, during the 51-day Israeli military assault on Gaza in 2014. Forced to stay inside for her own safety, she felt a compelling need to release all of her negative energy—fear, anxiety, and sheer terror. In the first two years, Matar produced over 200 paintings. While developing her artistic talent, Malak Matar has also excelled academically, achieving the highest grade point average in the Gaza Strip in 2017, her senior year of high school, and the second-highest grade point average in all of Palestine that same year. Unable to leave Gaza due to restrictions of the Israeli occupation, Malak showed her paintings to the world via social media, on Instagram and Facebook. On her fourteenth birthday, she began offering her paintings for sale in local exhibits. Using social media, she also began selling and mailing paintings to buyers around the world. Within two years, she became financially independent. With a growing following on Instagram (over 16,000 people!) Matar’s artwork quickly began to garner interest from galleries beyond Palestine; her first international exhibition was in Bristol, UK, in 2017. Since then, her artwork has been featured in individual and group exhibitions in Jerusalem, France, Spain, Costa Rica, India, and in the Art Under Siege exhibit held in the Rayburn House Office Building, US House of Representatives, Washington, DC. This is one of Malak’s last talks on the current speaking tour. In the past three weeks she spoke on 8 college campuses, including Merrimack, Smith, Yale, Southern Connecticut State, Manhattan College, and Drew University and several community events in Washington DC, New York City, Haverhill, and Ipswich.

JuPong Lin

JuPong Lin

Intermedia Artist

An immigrant from Taiwan, JuPong Lin weaves her ancestral traditions into contemporary community performance, cultivating kinship between peoples belonging to different places, between human bodies and other-than-human bodies. As an artist, de/colonial and institutional activist and educator, she fuses story circle, qigong, and cultural somatics in a relational art that bridges personal and collective healing. JuPong enjoys finding links (metaphoric mycorrhiza) between communities, institutions, and webs of earthbeings, to enhance connections that foster personal and community resilience and new kinships. Her community performance, media and installation art aspires to incite deep, systemic change through creating relationships of mutuality and reciprocity. With collaborator, Devora Neumark, JuPong is the co-founder of Fierce Bellies, an artist collective that “envisions the mainstreaming of climate justice through joyful art practice.”

Visit JuPong’s Website

Brian Alves

Brian Alves

Curator

Brian Alves is an Associate Professor and Chairperson of the Art & Design Department at Salem State University. He has been an artist, designer, curator and educator for 25 years.

He once studied with a Priestess of the West African Indigenous Religion while living with a group of Nigerian batik artists and has even cleaned a large concrete floor with only a Q-Tip while studying with Allan Kaprow – a pioneer of the “Happening.”

An explorer at heart, Brian’s creative form and medium adapts to accomodate the idea at hand. In his work you will find equal parts idea and form, code and material, whimsey and earnestness. Underlying much of his work is the desire to reconstruct and redefine “authoritative systems of knowledge.” Cultural, social and emotional identity are also at play though often implicit in the work.

Brian is also a designer with expertise in Branding, Identity, Illustration, Graphic Design, UI/UX, Interface Design, and Code.

Brian proudly studied Intermedia and Video Art in the University of Iowa’s Intermedia Department in the mid 90’s.

Visit Brian’s Website

Kat Everett

Kat Everett

Social Justice Advocate + and Project Manager for Bodies, Borders, Bridges

Anti-racist constructive deconstructioness. Writer, poet, educator, social justice advocate, curative. Kat is a senior level executive with over 22 years of refined experience in the human/social services field working in a variety of professional settings and levels including grassroots organizations, city, state, and federal entities. She has 10 years of diverse education and community relations experience cultivating and working with cross-sector teams locally, nationally and globally. Kat is skilled in innovative approaches and transformative interdisciplinary pedagogy.  Her areas of expertise are child welfare, youth work, trauma, addictions, mental health, family engagement, curating, challenging bias /race/ and privilege to promote inclusion. Specializing in community engagement and relationship development.

Visit Coco Brown Cultural Community Center

Tracy Bigelow Grisman

Tracy Bigelow Grisman

Interdisciplinary Artist

Interdisciplinary artist Tracy Bigelow Grisman combines mediums of paint and activism to make work that can range from painting a portrait to honor someone, to organizing a Repair Café in her hometown.
Tracy studied art at Rogers State College while earning her B.S.N. then furthered her art studies participating in many classes and workshops.  She received her Masters of Fine Arts Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College in 2019.
A life long learner, teacher, grandmother, painter, sketcher, community volunteer, and activist, Tracy has learned that to be an artist means to live life creatively with whatever medium life calls for.”

oldtimeyart.com

Barbara Gilbert

Barbara Gilbert

Barbara Gilbert is the Senior Campus Planner at UMass Lowell. She develops preliminary plans for major capital projects, as well as conceptual and strategic solutions for small- and large-scale space utilization initiatives. 

Barbara’s recent projects including: arts and exhibition planning; recreation facility planning; machine lab installation; capacity-building at Durgin Hall for Music Practice Rooms and Instrument Storage; and reprogramming of Art Department Drawing Studio and Senior Studio Suites.

Barbara has lived and worked in Baltimore, MD; Washington, DC; Blowing Rock, and Boone, NC; and Cambridge, and Brookline, MA. She received a bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst and master’s degrees in architecture and city planning from the Graduate School of Design (GSD) at Harvard University. She’s taught at Harvard’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts and in the Career Development Program at the GSD. Barbara is a Lowell resident.