The Oak Cliff Cultural Center presents “Written Witness,” an exhibition featuring Fabric Artist-Poet, Jas. Mardis, and Calligrapher Andrea Tosten.
On view February 23 - March 29, 2019.
Opening reception on Saturday, February 23, from 5:30-8 p.m.
Fabric Artist-Poet Jas. Mardis and Calligrapher Andrea Tosten exhibit small-to-large work in paper and fabric exploring responses to race, injustice, and identity through fabric portraiture, symbolism, leather & wood burning and hand-lettered explorations of select, reflective classic literature. Their cultural “telling and scribing” explore humanity through aesthetic interpretations and expressions that herald validating experiences inherent to their African-American and Jamaican-American cultures. The unique interpretations of these subjects, in these very different artists’ crafts, displays their want for a responsive mankind.
Mardis’ expansive use of poetic and narrative text is alongside his deliberate use of family and found portraits in fabric, leather, and wood. The exhibition as a whole plays to the rhythms of reflection, hence, “witnessing” and honoring through reflection. The hand-lettered literary selections are familiar from educated explorations across the racial spectrum. However, racial strife and cruelty or receptivity of generational female grooming or the injustice of wrongful incarceration and community devolution seep out of reflective reach. "Witness(ing)," the African-American cultural experience of speaking truth to power, and a religious declaration, is a timely, provocative and poignant statement on our shared humanity. For this exhibition, the subject matter is a timely political and societal exploration.