Deconstruction 90: 8th Grade Art Exhibition

“To deconstruct is to destroy a framework. “

June 2nd we celebrated the final thesis art exhibition featuring works of 8th Grade Students of Achievement First Brownsville Middle School.

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Their projects are based on New Jim Crow and our prison system, Immigration, photography about neighborhoods in Brooklyn evolving over time, and right now they are working on audio/sound pieces based on their idea of home.

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To deconstruct is to destroy a framework. For scholars finding their way through the education system in Brownsville, Brooklyn, frameworks are often forces of restriction, oppression, suffocation, alienation, perpetuation and, at times, ruination. Some of these frameworks were put into place consciously and strategically to keep power dynamics in place which have benefited some and subjugated others. Others have been developed as by-products of social ills and were created insidiously beneath the surface of social consciousness.

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Thoughts from Krystal Seli:

When the night was over I thought, to myself, I wish I had something like this when I was in high school. Walking into the gallery, I saw honest and raw pieces of art from young adults who had been given then opportunity to share their thoughts about everything from feminism to sexual orientation to beauty standards. They were asked questions like, “How does One’s Home affect One’s Identity?” and “How is suicide perceived in the eyes of society?”. The students answered in kind with music, painting, film and poetry, collectively sharing an immersive window into the life, thoughts and feelings of a New York teenager, which I could see, were not far from my own. I left the show asking some of those questions to myself and wondered if I had the opportunity to answer as my younger self, what I would say and how would I say it.

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About the author:

Krystal Seli

Over the years, I’ve worked many a job for some amazing non-profits. Some of my favorite jobs have been copywriting for The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, guest services hosting at the California Academy of Science in San Francisco as well as teaching at Children’s Fairyland in Oakland. When I’m not volunteering at The Living Gallery, I make weird theater with my friends. My favorite food in the whole world is a Filipino dish called Kare Kare, a dish my Grandma makes with Oxtail and a whole jar of peanut butter.