Upcoming exhibitions

Birthed from the soil at the Front Door Gallery

Iyana Esters
October 23, 2023 through January 1, 2024

A summer squash held by two hands resting in a lap draped with a colorful and patterned fabric."Birthed from the soil" is a new project by artist Iyana Esters. The exhibition presents a multidimensional portrait of Yawah Awolowo, known as Mama Yawah, an organic farmer, natural food chef, and midwife from the Black Belt of Alabama. This exhibition highlights the functionality of Mama Yawah’s life, demonstrating the beauty of ancestral knowledge of caring and working with the earth for generations, while living and tending to the community.

Iyana Esters combines art with her background in herbalism and environmental health, using photography as a lens of storytelling to capture human’s connection with nature. Ester experiments with a multitude of media including natural plant materials, herb dye, and anthrotype photography in her archival mural project, with an emphasis on highlighting stories about gender, sexuality, and ancestry in the Black and Afrodiaspora.

Resilience: A Sansei Sense of Legacy

September 9, 2024 through November 15, 2024

Image of paper strung together and hung from the ceiling against a white background.In 1942, in response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law Executive Order 9066. The law ordered the forced imprisonment of all Japanese Americans living on the west coast of the United States, which has the second largest population of Japanese people living outside of Japan.

In the years following the order’s retraction at the end of WWII, expatriate Japanese families and individuals were forced to come to terms with lost property, the shame and indignation of incarceration, and the task of re-integration into a society that had expelled them. After their release from the incarceration camps that dotted the American West and Midwest during the war, Japanese Americans used the phrase Shikata ga nai— it cannot be helped— and the word gaman —to persevere and stay silent— to speak to their resilience against the losses they incurred at the behest of Roosevelt’s order.

Told from the point of view of Sansei (third generation) Japanese Americans, Resilience—A Sansei Sense of Legacy is an exhibition of eight artists whose work reflects on the effect of EO9066 as it resonated from generation to generation. While several of the artists in Resilience employ traditional Japanese methods in the construction of their work, others use iconography relating to Japanese culture as a jumping-off point for personal explorations on the subject of the incarceration camps. Each in their own way, the artists in this exhibition express moments of deeply felt pain and reluctant acceptance, emotions which were often withheld by their elders. Co-curated by artist Jerry Takigawa and Gail Enns, Resilience was conceived to serve as a catalyst to cultivate social dialog and change around the issues of racism, hysteria and economic exploitation still alive in America today. The artists featured in Resilience were selected because of their personal connection to the subject matter, because their work is well respected within the Japanese American community as well as within the art world, and because of their activism on the subject of incarceration camps.