Social injustice is one of the most prominent conversations in the United States today. In stark contrast to paying lip service, artist Shanel Kerekes detonates that discussion through a barbed mouth, the focus of Brutally Honest, the newest addition to the Center’s Artists Up Front project. As more Americans call for investments in policy reform, her vociferous artwork joins the series of large-scale solo installations with bold statements echoing onto the streets beyond the museum’s walls.
“Brutally Honest is the vocal expression needed to advance the progression of equality and justice towards minorities. The piece served as an outlet to purge my emotions towards the events leading up to the Black Lives Matter movement, difficult to sum up in a single work,” revealed Kerkes. “Admiration for the brave, multi-cultural voices that protested for significant change inspired the composition. Language is power. People of color must continue to speak and revisit historic things previously said.”
Exposed to a culturally diverse environment early in life, as a biracial woman she uses the tribulations to build a visual representation of the many obstacles. “Brutally Honest reflects current tension within the black community and those with opposing views of the Black Lives Matter movement,” she said. “Minorities are often hesitant to come forward with their experiences of discrimination out of fear. Last year, people from across the country voiced hopes for better treatment. A lot of progress has been made, much work yet to be done.”
“Artists Up Front asserts the Burchfield Penney’s role throughout this community to amplify the voices of artists and provide a stage to garner well-deserved recognition as they continue to expand this region as a cultural destination,” said Burchfield Penney acting director Scott Propeack.
Kerkes defines her presentation in the project as transformative, “I channeled intense emotion into visual form, finding comfort in resonating in the artwork that aligned with my thoughts. I thank the Burchfield Penney for allowing artists to expose their truth to the community-at-large.”
Brutally Honest will be on view welcoming visitors above the Center’s entrance through Sunday, October 31, 2021