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Paradoxical Power: The Burqa Reimagined By Artist Selina Roman




Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator with the Sponsorship of the Visual Artist Network, the National Performance Network and funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual arts, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation presents “Paradoxical Power: The Burqa Reimagined” By Artist Selina Roman as part of theVisual Artists Network Exhibition Residency Program

Opening Reception: Friday, June 28, 2013, 6-8 pm

(Miami, FL – June 2013) Artist in residence for the Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator (DVCAI), Selina Roman will present her photographic work “Paradoxical Power: The Burqa Reimagined” this month, in Miami, FL. The opening reception and conversation about the project will take place at the ArtLink Gallery (130 NW 36th Street – Miami, FL 33127) on Friday June 28, at 6 pm.

Roman investigates the ideas of perception, power, protection and femininity in her photo-based work.  Her approach combines a solid research foundation with an aesthetic that blends elements of fashion and reportage.

Born and raised in Florida, Roman received her Master’s of Fine Arts degree at the University of South Florida.  She is also a trained journalist who has searched out stories of injustice in marginalized communities and, having worked at an international security and investigations firm for five years, she became privy to the inner workings of the private-sector intelligence community. Her propensity to investigate the smallest of details and give a voice to the underdog continues in her art works, where she exploits weaknesses and strengths in existing power structures.

“Paradoxical Power: The Burqa Reimagined” consists of 19 photographs of women wearing Afghan burqas. While the garment may be seen as a political, religious or ideological discourse, Roman asserts that she has no position on its use and, instead, wants to offer the audience a different view point or “a new way of seeing”, that will allow them to contemplate the work and arrive at their own conclusions.

“With the Afghan burqa, I take a loaded, iconic object and upend its literal meaning and challenge the viewer to contemplate the idea that there is power in anonymity and that an unreturned gaze is just as powerful, if not more so, than one that is exchanged.  Using something with which I have no personal history allows me to explore the burqa’s other attributes such as protection and anonymity.  Although the burqa is shrouded in religious significance, I take it out of this context in an attempt to explore these other attributes.  Instead of showcasing it as an oppressive garment, I place the burqa in idyllic Florida landscapes to let it float and billow.  In turn, it becomes an ephemeral and weightless object removed from its politicized context,” she says.

As part of the residency program, Roman will also engage with the community, presenting and debating her work at the Girl Power Organization, a nonprofit day and after-school community social change program for 11 to 17-year-old girls.

Selina Roman’s work is in numerous private collections and she has shown nationally and internationally in Rome, Miami, South Hampton, San Juan, Kingston and Paramaribo. Her residency project is presented by DVCAI in partnership with the National Performance Network (NPN) and Visual Arts Network (VAN), Miami-Dade County, The Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation.

About DVCAI and Diaspora Vibe Gallery
Founded by its current Executive Director and Curator, Rosie Gordon-Wallace, in 1996, Diaspora Vibe Gallery and Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator were created to promote, nurture, and cultivate the vision and diverse talents of emerging artists from the Caribbean and Latin Diaspora through exhibitions programs, artists in residence program, international exchange programs, and education and outreach activities that celebrate Miami-Dade’s rich cultural and social fabric.

Their programs explore and experiment with new forms and themes that challenge traditional definitions of Caribbean and Latin American Art. It is guided by the conviction that contemporary art is a vital social force that extends beyond the art world and into the broader culture. With the purpose of engaging diverse audiences ranging from arts professionals to those less familiar with contemporary art, DVCAI conducts experimental unique presentations of multiple disciplines. Diaspora Vibe Gallery is a virtual space delivering support to artists whose quality of work reflects the changes of our immigrant journeys and cultures.

About The ArtLink Gallery
The ArtLink Gallery opened in 2010 with the purpose of supporting talented artists, emerging or established, in the different stages of their careers. They welcome artists committed to the development and excel of their work, who can benefit from their Equal Exhibition Opportunity (EEO) policy, which allows them not only more exposure, but also the interaction with the public through the exchange of experiences, while showing their art and updating visitors about the progress of their production.

The ArtLink Gallery is focused on contemporary artistic expressions in different disciplines, and seeks for expanding their support creating important exchanges with other national or international galleries in a trustworthy environment. www.theartlinkgallery.com

About Girl Power
Girl Power is a nonprofit day and after-school community social change organization, whose goal is to promote positive behavior, enhance social skills and improve academic performance in adolescent girls. Girl Power offers several empowerment programs to young girls and their families throughout Miami-Dade County including an alternative-to-suspension program; an after-school program; summer camp; mentoring; and post detention girls’ programs.

Since its inception, Girl Power has served approximately 1500 Miami-Dade County public school students and has helped to reduce the suspension rate of its participants by 85% and the arrest rate by an amazing 90%. www.girlpowerrocks.org

“Paradoxical Power: The Burqa Reimagined” by Selina Roman
Date: June 28, from 6 to 8 pm
Location: ArtLink Gallery – 130 NW 36th Street -Miami, FL 33127
More Info: www.diasporavibevirtualgallery.com
Email: rgw@diasporavibe.net

Contact: Bruna Indalecio
Tel.: 786-536-7801
Email: rgw@diasporavibe.net