Lead image for the exhibit "shanequa gay: thought and memory" of a woman embracing a childFebruary 15 – May 21, 2023 extended!

Skylight Gallery, Oglethorpe University Museum of Art

Opening reception – Tuesday, February 14, 6 – 8 p.m.

“I become legible through the stories you tell about me. My body takes shape in the tropes you construct, to etch the contours of my frame. My voice never reaches you but still rings in my ears. I swim in man-made lakes that masquerade as reflecting pools, this image is not mine, I wink at your simulacrum and surely will drown in your streets, narratives, buildings and beliefs… I am a shapeshifter in this material world, but shapeshifting is not magic, it is my life or maybe it is magic because it is my life.”  – Aimee Meredith Cox

Oglethorpe University will feature a new site-specific, mixed-media installation by Atlanta artist Shanequa Gay where she places Black girls at play within whimsical landscapes evoked by childhood memories of her hometown with dreamlike works that incorporate folklore, 80s cartoons, Disney tropes and fairy tales alongside Black Women’s cultural production, William Bouguereau’s peasant girl paintings as reference and trap music as fodder. In this work, two sisters become shapeshifting magicians, reimagining and dismantling, becoming and undoing, they play in effaced black communities and embrace their dreams as the location where imagination and agency are supreme.

“thought and memory” will present Gay’s preliminary works, images of Black girls in multimedia paintings, photographs, and murals, juxtaposed with a variety of elements associated with childhood. The installation will be designed so that visitors will negotiate the space as if experiencing it from a child’s point of view.

The exhibition “shanequa gay: thought and memory” is the culmination of Gay’s 2022-2023 residency at Oglethorpe University. For inquiries regarding the artist-in-residence program at Oglethorpe University, please contact John Daniel Tilford, curator of collections (404-364-8552 or [email protected]).

Image credit: thought and memory, 2022, mixed media/panel, courtesy of the artist