Water Exhibition in Richmond

“Water” a solo exhibition by Monica Jahan Bose at the Capital One Gallery in Richmond, Virginia. May 10- June 30, 2016. Curated by Naoko Wowsugi.

Bangladeshi-American artist and activist Monica Jahan Bose uses painting, performance, video, photography, printmaking, and community engagement to address climate change. She references mythology, personal histories, and everyday objects and garments to create fragmented, symbolic narratives. She uses the sari and sari blouse to refer to women’s lives. Water is an enduring theme in her work, speaking to life, climate, sustenance, death, and renewal.

Water is the source of life but also causes destruction through increasing cyclones, storm surges, and rising sea levels, all resulting from climate change and our excessive consumption of energy. Bose is the creator of Storytelling with Saris, a longterm collaborative art and advocacy project highlighting the resilience of women in Katakhali, Bangladesh, a remote island community severely impacted by climate change and expected to disappear unless the world takes action now. She is working with 12 women from Katakhali, her ancestral village, and bringing their stories to the world. The project includes printmaking and writing on saris, journal writing, as well as research, education, adaptation training, and advocacy on climate change. Bose is conducting climate pledge workshops around the US, where participants learn about the impacts of climate change and make pledges directly on saris to reduce their carbon footprint. These climate pledge saris are transported to Bangladesh and shared with (and ultimately worn as garments by) the coastal women of Katakhali. Bose will be leading a climate pledge workshop on May 31, 2016.

About the artist: Monica Jahan Bose is an artist, lawyer, and activist based in Washington, DC and Bangladesh. She studied art at Wesleyan University and Santiniketan, India, and has a law degree from Columbia University. In addition to more than 20 years working as a visual artist, Bose has founded and run several non-profits and practiced and taught environmental and human rights law. She has exhibited her artwork extensively in the US, Bangladesh, France, Japan, and India. Her paintings were recently selected to represent the US in “1 in 3,” the World Bank’s global exhibition on gender-based violence, which featured 30 international artists. In 2014, she was invited to present Storytelling with Saris at the US EPA, the Brooklyn Museum, the Edward M. Kennedy Center in Bangladesh, and SELECT during Art Basel-Miami Beach. In 2015, she had a solo exhibition at the Bangladesh National Museum. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including grants from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, supported by the National Endowment on the Arts. Bose serves on the board of Samhati, a US-based Bangladeshi women’s organization that creates eco-empowerment projects for low-income women in Bangladesh. She is also a board-member of the New York-based South Asian Women’s Creative Collective.


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