SEPTEMBER 2020 | ARTXPUZZLES: PUZZLES WITH PURPOSE selected contemporary curator Alaina Simone for a select Curators Choice section, which is a global initiative by special invitation only for international curators from around the world to create new and innovatiive artist jigsaw puzzles with our company.
Ms. Simone has selected contemporary artists Alternonce Gumby, (Bronx NYC) Helina Metaferia, (Washington DC) Kharis Kennedy (California) Barbara Nessim (NYC) and Yashua Klos (Chicago-NYC).
The first jigsaw puzzle was a map to teach geographical borders visually. During an unprecedented time in our history, where physical doors and geographical borders have closed due to the Coronavirus, we've used technology to create new and innovative ways of engaging socially. Art x Puzzle: Puzzle With A Purpose is an opportunity to not only directly raise support for organizations that are making our society healthier but equally expand awareness and encourage engagement with artists who use their art practice as a "catalyst for change".
Their work reflects autobiographical themes around form, color and symbolism to investigate abstracted depictions of identity, race, class and history in the United States and the world at-large.
The process and research-based intergenerational artists featured in this selection are working across mediums and disciplines. Their work references autobiographical themes to create "new ways of seeing" and considers their local communities that inform their respective art practices. Alteronce Gumby has childhood memories of growing up in Harrisburg, PA and afternoons spent working on jigsaw puzzles with his grandmother; he uses his hands to construct his paintings like a jigsaw puzzle allowing him to shape spaces of light to create hues and shapes that offer him a space of freedom. Helina Metaferia is a first-generation Ethiopian-American, and she incorporates written and oral documentation to portray her interest in art as activism; she collages images of her own body as well as the bodies of her community to activate her work through action. Kharis Kennedy was born in Los Angeles, CA and grew up all over the world; she uses her body and sources images from her island-based community in the Virgin Islands as sites of knowledge to reveal her innermost truths about privilege and society's obsession with consumption, consumerism and self-indulgence. Yashua Klos explores his autobiographical memories of growing up with a single mother on Chicago's South Side; he challenges signs of marginalization, male blackness and urban mythology. As a lifelong New Yorker, Barbara Nessim's work portrays her community, growing up in the Bronx to reflect ideas around migration, immigration, integration and population growth. Equally, these artists are active in their local communities and spend time developing community based initiatives to promote ideas around art and activism.
Alaina Simone: Curatorial Statement