Capturing one’s true self through art can be challenging, but for 20 artists, the ability to share themselves will be evident in the photography, painting, sound structure, sculpture and large multi-media pieces on paper in This Is Me: Life Reflected through Art. The 5th annual exhibition will debut on August 18th with an opening reception at the Brooklyn Museum and represents a six-year collaboration between the Museum and the Institute for Community Living’s (ICL) Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) Division. ICL is a not-for-profit agency that offers a wide array of services to people with disabilities, including nine residences and community-based services for individuals with I/DD.
Over the past year, the artists made frequent trips to Brooklyn Museum to gain inspiration from its exhibitions, including work by artist Kiki Smith and pieces from the Museum’s permanent collection, with a focus on how artists portray themselves in their own art and how this tells a story about their experiences and the time in which they live.
Dylan Stanfield, an ICL arts and activities counselor, explains, “By focusing on representations of artists’ actual work environments, we contrasted our own experiences with what we could tell from the information that we observed in their work. Portrait painting allowed us to consider what we can tell about a person by the details that were incorporated, such as the clothes that they wore or the objects they held.”
He continues, “Ancient Egyptian art was a way of bringing in ordinary objects used on a daily basis into the conversation. From there, we explored how we see ourselves as well as how the world perceives us. We wanted to find ways in which to tell our story to a larger audience. This has taken the form of traditional portrait painting as well as drawing and sculpture inspired by our own bodies and photography that captures something autobiographical.”