Culturally Arts Collective is an international non-profit aimed at increasing accessibility and representation of the arts through exhibitions, education, and professional development.
The organization’s activities include art management consulting, collaborative action research, and the implementation of strategies for the promotion of arts in institutions. Culturally Arts Collective also collaborates with museums and galleries around the world to create virtual galleries and exhibition spaces.
Culturally Arts Collective also conducts community outreach projects, such as a recent fundraising campaign for humanitarian aid. Its online education programs range from oil painting to fiction writing to ballet dance. Culturally Arts Collective also offers personalized mentorships for aspiring and practicing artists.
Currently on view on the CAC website is the exhibition “Broken Mirrors,” which reflects the turbulence of modern life.
Fine Art Shippers spoke with the associate curator of the virtual show Anwar Mohammad about its concept, the selection process, and her curatorial experience in disruptive times.
Culturally Arts Collective Features “Broken Mirrors” Exhibition
The exhibition features very diverse artists in terms of style, mediums, and vision. What concept or idea unites them?
Anwar Mohammad: The main idea of the exhibition is to show artistic responses to contemporary disruptions of life. Some of them are typical of our time, others are “eternal questions” to which humanity, and artists in particular, have been trying to find answers for centuries. We have several themes running through the exhibition: sexuality, sexual violence, colonialism, and war. We also address issues such as climate change, materiality, freedom, and hope. Some of the exhibition participants explore the realms of consciousness and the subconscious. Each artist has their own way of dealing with these social and existential issues. In terms of art practices, we have a wide range of mediums that include photography, collage, digital painting, and traditional painting. When selecting the artists for the project, we considered their subjective interpretations of the current issues. In addition to that, we wanted to create a shared visual narrative that would connect the themes and materials the artists work with.
There are 36 artists and artworks featured in “Broken Mirrors.” What was the selection process? Was it an open call?
We wanted to be as inclusive as possible and bring together different artists, regardless of their age, education, background, academic background, or location. For the open call, each artist submitted a statement explaining their vision and personal relationship to the main theme of the exhibition. So for the initial selection, we considered the relevance of the theme to our project and also how it was reflected in their overall art practice. Next, we looked at how all these narratives convey the exhibition’s message and how come together to form a single, but multi-layered narrative.
How does this project resonate with you as a curator and as a person?
This is my first curatorial experience. The most exciting and at the same time the most difficult part was to figure out the message that the artists conveyed in their works and find a way to communicate it to the viewer. A work of art always has multiple layers, and what you see on the surface can be intentionally deceptive. So you should ask yourself questions to understand what it is all about: is the message economic, political, or social? Or all of the above? It is an intense emotional and intellectual process, and this is what I love about this work. Since I have a background in architecture, one of the things that interested me was the spatial aspect of the exhibition. I tried to create a separate space for each of the 36 artists, with its own kind of movement, connected to all the others at the same time.
Photo courtesy of Culturally Arts Collective