Art Exhibit by Women Artists Drawing Crowds

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MCALLEN – A new art exhibition is drawing many to come through the door and observe.

They call it ‘The Fold’ and it centers on the imagination of women artists from all over the world.

“We have over 20 scholars and artists from different countries, different cultures, backgrounds,” UTRGV professor and curator Raheleh Filsoofi said. “The United States, Nigeria, South Africa, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and Germany.”

The exhibit is actually in three different locations. One is at the International Museum of Arts and Sciences in McAllen. The other two are located at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, which originated the idea.

Filsoofi had ideas for the exhibit for two years. “It’s really of international nature. In this room that you’re in right now, you have four women artists who represent their home, their place of birth,” Stephen Block, the dean of fine arts, said.

It is part of the University’s 2018 FESTIBA, the Festival of International Books and Arts.

Giannina Coppiano Dwin, an artist from Ecuador, completed a piece she called ‘Mother Nature.’

“This exhibition here is made of completely salt, 150 pounds of salt. The materials will perish eventually and it cannot stay here forever. So the second you touch it, it’s loose salt. There’s nothing binding it,” she explained.

It took her 12 days to finish.

“A woman’s dress insinuating a woman’s body, insinuating a mother, a woman, nature. And then this beautiful dress turns into the ocean,” she said.

The displayed pieces all tell a story. Some are about the environment and some about immigration.

“These are emergency blankets. And I cut them into stripes and I did the embroidery. Two figures are wrapped inside the blanket. They are resting from their run seeking asylum,” Siebl Kocabasi, an artist from Turkey, explained.

There are some exhibits of money as it relates to men, women and power.

“As we educate audiences, old and young, about the importance of art and the power of images to tell a story and communicate social issues,” UTRGV assistant professor Katherine McAllen said. 

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