Chela Mitchell Gallery presents a two-part exhibition at their pop-up space in Washington, DC.
Celia Rakotondrainy When the mirror shatters, will the water be dead?
August 14, 2021 | Extended to September 4
Celia Rakotondrainy’s debut solo show in the U.S. highlights her signature double-exposed self-portraits that explore the artist’s dual Malagasy and French heritage. The cultural diversity in which Rakotondrainy grew up developed her desire to discover, question, and understand the notions of identity and identity construction. This desire to understand the points of friction that arise when one has to deal with several distinct reference systems comes from the fact that they are sometimes paradoxical but remain entirely true. Having a plan of reference is necessary to construct identity because it allows a grid of reading to place ourselves with the other, to perceive the world. However, when there are several, this process becomes more complicated to grasp. It then becomes less obvious to appropriate them.
When we examine the long process of identity construction, we realize that it is necessary to deconstruct, understand all the components that reveal themselves to us, explore them to accept them, and thus give existence to our world. This is the reason why the figures I paint are destructured, cut out, depersonalized, and reorganized in order to create and appreciate a new complex subject, ambiguous but tending towards uniqueness. This uniqueness I express by delimitations that are blended, the borders of the faces are no longer as visible as in a portrait where only one face would be painted. The presence of water also supports this idea of fluidity between disparate elements such as our former self and our present self or our different cultures. In the book “Les Identités Meurtrières” (In the Name of Identity), Amin Maalouf sheds light on the fact that identity is not compartmentalized; it is not divided either by halves, or by thirds, or by compartmentalized ranges. There is not one part of our identity that prevails over the others; they cohabit together and shape what we are, what we become. From the moment this multiplicity is unified or gathered, we go beyond the idea that identity is an assembly of parts that are foreign to each other, that they are in fact not delimited, and that together they form a new essence, unique in its diversity. Therefore, the construction of identity is a fluid and perpetual movement like a river; nothing seems to remain fixed.
Born in Paris in 1994, Celia studied at Iéseg Paris and decided to devote herself full-time to painting while also studying Art History at Oxford through their distance learning program. In 2019, Celia continued curatorial training at the University of the Arts in Berlin and the art market at the Freie Universität. Celia is a self-taught artist of French and Malagasy origin. She lives between Berlin, Paris, and Nosy Be.
Strongly influenced by her personal experience, she approaches notions of identity, culture, and perception that question the subjectivity of each person’s view of “one” reality, a reality that, in the end, is what she believes is our own to define.
Celia was named by Artnet News as one of ‘5 Artists to Watch’ in February 2021.
I Envy the Wind Group Exhibition
August 14, 2021 | Extended to September 4
The group exhibition entitled I Envy the Wind features six local artists of color, from the DC area. The show’s title explores the idea that privilege upheld in whiteness isn’t covetous. For what is whiteness without violence and oppression? The prerogative of the wind is desired—the ability to move freely through the world sans the violence of racism.
Mojdeh Rezaeipour creates mixed media works, installations, and films that explore notions of home, time, and memory. Her practice is largely process-led and moves playfully between media, resulting in a dynamic and ephemeral storytelling language that incorporates existing bodies of her 2D, sculptural, and video work as a part of its immersive vocabulary. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley, where she studied architecture, and of Alt*Div, an alternative divinity school centering the intersections of healing justice and art as spiritual practice.
Jorge Caceres is an artist based in Washington, DC, originally raised in Lima, Peru. Growing up in such a visually profuse environment and influenced by his Spanish and Italian origins, Jorge’s multi-cultural background gives him the unique ability to convey his creativity through painting. As a self-taught artist, he combines abstract forms of diverse colors and shapes, a vehicle he uses to express a myriad of feelings and emotions.
Nakeya Brown was born in Santa Maria, California in 1988. She received her Bachelor of Art from Rutgers University and her Master of Fine Arts from The George Washington University. Her work has been featured nationally in solo and group exhibitions. Brown’s work has been featured in Time, New York magazine, Dazed & Confused, The Fader, The New Yorker, and Vice. Her work has been included in photography books MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora, Babe, and Girl on Girl: Art and Photography in the Age of the Female Gaze.
Nate Palmer is a documentary portrait photographer living and working between NYC and his hometown, Washington, D.C. He photographs love, care and tenderness, primarily in Black-American communities. Palmer’s client list includes: AARP, Barron’s Magazine, California Sunday Magazine, Financial Times Magazine, Google, Interview Magazine, Kaiser Health News, Mother Jones, National Geographic, The New York Times, The New Yorker, NPR, ProPublica, Rolling Stone, Smithsonian Magazine, Sojourner Magazine, TIME, U.S. News, Veranda, Vox, W Magazine.
Lauren McKinney is a self-taught D.C.-based visual artist whose work focuses on legacy and communal sustainability in the African American Community—through non-figurative painting, focusing on the abstraction of movement and feeling. McKinney seeks to explore the topics of wealth building, mental health, and family. Through her artwork and community-engaged practice, she invites the world to see beyond the gestures and colors and dive deeper into the narratives of success and survival.
Samera Paz is a Colombian-American visual artist and community organizer born and raised in Washington D.C.She works in photography, visual 2D works, installation, and performance art. Her work touches on gender, social and political issues, mental health, and women’s rights.
The exhibitions are located at 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue SE (entrance located on Pennsylvania Avenue across from NY Pizza).