“SALLY explores how artists confront myriad issues of agency, and use community and collaboration to undercut the status quo, and construct lives of integrity and purpose.”
Since the 1980s, Brickbottom Artist Association in Somerville has led the way in this region not only for visual artists, but for artists everywhere looking for ways to lead sustainable careers. Their community arts organization has supported resident as well as non-resident creatives in every possible way, all while providing shows and open studios galore for the rest of us.
Before this year’s open studios, this fall the gallery at Brickbottom continues the tradition with SALLY, an “interdisciplinary, community–centered project, created by Sasha Chavchavadze and JoAnne McFarland, that focuses on using art to activate the public memory of women, like Sally Hemings, whose lives have been erased or forgotten.”
More from the Brickbottom team about the show, which runs through Oct. 25, below …
DNA evidence confirms that Sarah “Sally” Hemings and Thomas Jefferson had six children together. While a teenager in France with Jefferson’s family, Hemings had a chance at full freedom, but returned to America with Jefferson in 1791 when he was 47 years old. Many historians believe Hemings was already pregnant with her first child by Jefferson when she returned. She lived out most of her life as a slave on Jefferson’s Monticello plantation, in quarters adjacent to his that have recently been restored.
SALLY, a collaborative interdisciplinary project, brings together artists, writers, performers, and historians intrigued by women, Like Sally Hemings, whose destinies are inextricably interwoven with those they knew, and whose lives have often been erased or forgotten.
First presented in the fall of 2019 in three Brooklyn venues: The Old Stone House & Washington Park, Artpoetica Project Space, and the Gowanus Dredgers Boathouse, SALLY galvanizes communities around forgotten history at this critical juncture when women’s autonomy is once again under attack. Another meaning of “sally” seems particularly relevant: a sudden charge out of a besieged place. SALLY explores how artists confront myriad issues of agency, and use community and collaboration to undercut the status quo, and construct lives of integrity and purpose.
SALLY is presented in distinctly different exhibition spaces that serve a variety of communities, ensuring that the exhibition reaches both art and non-art audiences. Each exhibition is reflective of the place that it is in.