"From Vermont to Ethiopia & Back Again" at 118 Elliot
"From Vermont to Ethiopia and Back Again," an art exhibition including photography, Mobile Mural Project collaboration, and paintings by Meghan Rigali and Behulum Mengistu, is showing through August 17 at the 118 Elliot Gallery in Brattleboro. Rigali is a San Francisco Art Institute graduate and interdisciplinary artist-educator. Mengistu is an international graffiti artist. This show highlights ongoing cultural partnerships between artists and educators in Vermont and their counterparts in Hawassa, Ethiopia, which brought Rigali to Hawassa and Mengistu to Vermont in 2017.
Among the pieces in this show are the Mobile Mural Project which is a 16' x 4' collaborative mural by the two artists, created during a recent artist residency at Twin Valley Middle School. The Mobile Mural was conceived over a conversation depicting the cultural exchange through a mythological lens. The piece includes a dynamic engagement between the Ibex—the endangered ungulate of the Simien Mountains and the symbol of Ethiopia—and the deer-chimera, a reference to the beloved denizen of the Northeast, reflective of the spirit of friendship between the artists and the act of cultural recognition. Paintings from Mengistu and scarves from the southern regions of Ethiopia will complement Rigali's photographs from the Simien Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to offer a glimpse into this culturally, geographically, and geologically rich region of East Africa. For artist Rigali, "Engaging in this cultural exchange between Ethiopia and Vermont through the creation of visual art is an impactful conversation in the first human language. My artistic collaborations with Behulum Mengistu continue to ignite connections between our countries as a welcome invitation to cultivate community building and essential awareness around human and environmental rights."
An opening Gallery Walk reception on August 4, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., will include storytelling by the artists and speakers from The Willowell Foundation and One Love Theater, a Hawassa-based youth theater troupe dedicated to education around AIDS and gender equality. Some of the exhibited pieces will be for sale to benefit the One Love Theater and continued collaboration between Ethiopian and Vermont NGOs to support their mission.
Gallery Hours through August 17 are Sunday 12:00-5:00 p.m. and Wednesday/Thursday 2:00-6:00 p.m. Appointments for other times can be made by contacting Meghan Rigali at email@example.com
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