I AM Speaks for Itself

I AM Speaks for Itself

October 24, 2019

Twenty-five Vermont artists are represented in an exhibit titled I AM . . . , a display of work culminating the first year of the I am a Vermont Artist e-newsletter series. The online publication is built on a series of interviews and documents how artists’ creative expressions reflect their experiences of ethnicity, gender identity, religion, disability, or age.

Art in the resulting show varies widely; the muse for some is identity, for others, landscape. There are two-dimensional pieces as well as music and sound, spoken word, poetry, dance, and movement within a digital compilation. All carry two requests: You are invited just to see what is there, and to uncover what is underneath.

Co-curator Shanta Lee Gander posits that all the pieces are encouraging us to “bear witness to something that is happening right now, within our atmosphere.” She also describes I AM . . . as a dialogue, demanding your attention or that you be present. Other times, she sees the work as reclamation. Always, she comes back to this: The words “I am” on their own are a declaration “that did not need anything extra, or any addition.”

I AM . . . will appear in other venues in 2020. The work of these artists will be on view in the Spotlight Gallery from November 8 to December 20:

Toby MacNutt.

The Digital Compilation

A2VT, Afropop singers/songwriters/musicians
LN Bethea, poet
Bryan Blanchette, Abenaki singer/songwriter
Christal Brown, dancer and choreographer
Rajnii Eddins, spoken word poet, emcee, and teaching artist
Samirah Evans, singer and educator
William Forchion, performer, poet, filmmaker, and circus arts cultural exchange ambassador
Toby MacNutt, queer, nonbinary-trans, disabled multidisciplinary artist, author, and teacher
DonnCherie McKenzie, singer, songwriter, model, dancer, storyteller, costume enthusiast
Mikahely, singer and songwriter
Desmond Peeples, poet, writer, musician
Isadora Snapp, dancer, choreographer

Written Work on Display

William Forchion, performer, poet, filmmaker, and circus arts cultural exchange ambassador.
Toby MacNutt, queer, nonbinary-trans, disabled multidisciplinary artist, author, and teacher
Desmond Peeples, poet, writer, musician
Deidra Razzaque, artist, writer, workshop leader, intercultural coach
Toussaint St. Negritude, Afrofuturist/Oro-shamanic poet, bass clarinetist

On the Walls

Misoo’s Giant Asian Girl (a self-portrait).

Larry Bissonnette, visual artist
François Clemmons, actor, singer, composer, playwright, author, and activist
Will Kasso Condry, mural artist, educator, and community organizer
Shanta Lee Gander, poet, writer, photographer, multi-faceted professional
Amy Hook-Therrien, visual artist
Misoo, visual artist
Muslim Girls Making Change, slam poets and performance artists
Hom Pradhan, visual artist
Deidra Razzaque, artist, writer, workshop leader, intercultural coach
Vera Longtoe Sheehan, Abenaki culture bearer, master artist, educator, activist
Toussaint St. Negritude, Afrofuturist/Oro-shamanic poet, bass clarinetist
Kaylynn Sullivan TwoTrees, artist, catalyst, guide
Cai Xi, painter, educator, Taiji master, chef, gallerist, curator
Sachiko Yoshida, visual artist

You’re Invited!

The opening November 8, from 5-7 p.m. follows a panel discussion moderated by Shanta Lee Gander beginning at 4 p.m. at the Vermont History Museum—109 State Street in Montpelier.

—Arts Council Communications Director Kira Bacon co-curated the exhibit.
—Toussaint St. Negritude pictured top left; photo by Alison Prine.
Read more about the exhibit.
Read other featured stories.

Susan McDowell

Tags: Amy Hook-Therrien, Bryan Blanchette, Cai Xi, Christal Brown, Deidra Razzaque, Desmond Peeples, DonnCherie McKenzie, Francois Clemmons, Hom Pradhan, Isadora Snapp, Kaylynn Sullivan TwoTrees, Larry Bissonnette, LN Bethea, Mikahely, Misoo, Muslim Girls Making Change, Rajnii Eddins, Sachiko Yoshida, Samirah Evans, Shanta Lee Gander, Toby MacNutt, Toussaint St. Negritude, Vera Longtoe Sheehan, Vermont Artists, Will Kasso Condry, William Forchion


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