The Betty Mae Kramer Gallery Presents Jessica Hopkins and Mariama McCarthy dis/figure

By East City Art Editorial Team on September 18, 2017

Fri, September 22 2017 — Fri, December 8 2017

Photo courtesy of the Betty Mae Kramer Gallery.
Opening Reception: Friday, September 22 from 6pm to 8pm


The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) presents two recent bodies of work by Jessica Hopkins and Mariama McCarthy with an opening reception at the Betty Mae Kramer Gallery and Music Room on Friday, September 22 at 6pm. Organized by AHCMC Curator Amina Cooper, dis/figure explores the practice of portraiture as a method of revealing or concealing personal histories, particularly in depictions of marginalized and oppressed persons, and considers the unique burdens inherent to these representations. This event is free and open to the public.

Jessica Hopkins’ self-portrait series Beneath the Texture explores the physical transformation the artist experienced after developing Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma B Cell Cancer. Jessica’s portraits purposefully straddle representation and abstraction. The artist depicts herself as both colorless and abstractly colored, textureless and patterned. Colors and patterns become masks, symbolizing the feel and effect of radiation treatments undergone by the artist. The contrasting elements within these works generate an outer body and otherworldly surrealism that speaks to the trauma of illness, and the miracle of healing.

Mariama McCarthy’s portraits recount the specific experiences of the women of the Niger, Africa, where the artist was born to a nomadic Tuareg family. Layering her unique iconography—a rich blend of patterns, symbolism, animals and script-like lines—Mariama creates evocative profiles of unseen and unheard women. Themes of subjugation, child marriage, and loss of autonomy form the undercurrent of her work. Of this series, Mariama explains, “I paint stories of strength and struggles of women, including myself—screaming in silence, to address my feelings about secrets in cultural traditions.”

Jessica Hopkins (b. Washington, DC USA) resides in Takoma Park, Maryland. She attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, the University of the District of Columbia and received a Master in Fine Arts from Howard University. Jessica teaches art at the Mary McLeod Bethune Day Academy Public Charter School.

Mariama McCarthy (b. Niger, Africa) is a self-taught artist, born into a Tuareg nomad family and raised in the Tchin-Tabaraden area in Niger, West Africa. She moved to the U.S. in 1993. In 2000, she suffered a stroke. When she recovered, she was unable to stop drawing and painting, and has been making art ever since. Mariama is a resident of Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Galley Hours:

  • Monday – Friday: 10am to 6pm

Betty Mae Kramer Gallery is located at 1 Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD. For more information, visit