In an exciting start to the spring semester, the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art will open an exhibition featuring new artwork created by nationally-acclaimed artist Shanequa Gay during her time as the university’s inaugural visual artist-in-residence.
Titled “shanequa gay: thought and memory,” the exhibition will transform the museum’s Skylight Gallery into a whimsical, multimedia dreamscape inspired by the artist’s childhood.
Known for her fantastical and vibrant style, Gay will present an array of paintings, photographs and murals in this new exhibit. “thought and memory” will be an ode to Black childhood suffused with folklore, 80s cartoons, fairy tales, classical art and trap music.
The installation will be designed so that visitors will feel as if they are looking through a child’s eyes.
Atlanta artist Shanequa Gay began her residency at the university in September 2022, occupying a private studio in the Turner Lynch Campus Center dedicated to the artist-in-residence program. In addition to creating new, original art for her upcoming exhibition at OUMA, Gay would often host Oglethorpe students and other young artists in her space, offering one-on-one constructive critiques or chances to observe her creative process.
Gay’s residency and upcoming exhibition at Oglethorpe are an exciting culmination of the artist’s longstanding relationship with the university. In 2019, a group of student leaders, with the support of Oglethorpe’s Student Government Association and Black Student Caucus, successfully led an initiative to acquire one of Gay’s works — “La Pieta”” — to begin expanding the diversity of the artists represented in the museum’s permanent collection. Since then, the museum has acquired another work by Gay, “Hey, Slim,” which was recently on view in the Spring 2022 exhibition “Beloved Community: African American Artists in Atlanta Collections and Beyond.” The museum also plans to acquire at least one of the works Gay created during her residency.
“shanequa gay: thought and memory” will be on view Feb. 15 – Apr. 23. The museum will host an opening reception for the exhibition on Tuesday, February 14 from 6 – 8 p.m. during which the artist will deliver opening remarks on her newest work.