Weather the Storm
Weather the Storm
Civilian Art Projects
March 31- April 21, 2018
Opening reception: Saturday, March 31 @ 7-9 pm
Closing and artist’s talk: Saturday, April 21 @ 3 pm
â€śWeather the Stormâ€ť centers on a series of performances and climate art actions that Monica Jahan Bose has led since November 2016. The title of the show derives from a Bengali song that the artist has been singing in her performances, lines from which appear in her paintings. She has taken Tagoreâ€™s Kharobayu Boye Bege (A Strong Wind Is Blowing) and replaced â€śO boatmanâ€ť with â€śO Womanâ€ť to create a feminist song about working together to row a boat to shore during a storm. Over several years, she has collaborated with homeless women from Calvary Womenâ€™s Services in Anacostia as well as women from One Billion Rising, a global platform to end violence against women, and the women of her ancestral village, Katakhali Village, Barobaishdia Island, Bangladesh. Boseâ€™s performances, paintings, videos, works on paper, and saris explore themes of empowerment, environment, mythology, and community.
A Bangladeshi-American artist and lawyer who has lived in seven countries, Bose uses Bengali and English text and womenâ€™s writing as integral elements in her work, highlighting multilingualism and womenâ€™s agency and literacy. Bose has long used the sari â€” 18 feet of unstitched handwoven fabric â€” to represent womenâ€™s lives, both in her paintings and her ongoing social practice project Storytelling with Saris.
She has started using the coconut as a symbol of climate resilience. Each of her recent performances about climate change â€” in Miami, Washington DC, Honolulu, Paris, and Katakhali Village, Bangladesh â€” involved months of planning to create a woman-centered community, which comes together to collect dozens of coconuts to build a raft, sew saris together to make a massive sari, write carbon reduction pledges on saris, or grow and plant a coconut tree.
The exhibition is accompanied by a new publication, Rising Up to Climate Change: Storytelling with Saris, and is funded in part by a grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Monica Jahan Bose has exhibited her work and performed extensively in the US and internationally. Her ongoing collaborative project Storytelling with Saris has been featured in numerous publications and TV and radio programs. Her work has been featured in the Miami Herald, the Washington Post, Art Asia Pacific, the Milwaukee Sentinel, the Honolulu Star Advertiser, the Japan Times, and all major newspapers in Bangladesh. She recently created a large-scale installation and performance for the Smithsonian Asia Pacific American Centerâ€™s Ae Kai Culture Lab in Honolulu. She will travel to Athens in July for a solo exhibition in connection with the UNESCO World Book Capital celebration. She has a B.A. in the practice of art (painting) from Wesleyan University, a post-graduate diploma in art from Santiniketan, India, and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.