When “The Other I” art exhibit opens Thursday at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, it will be a triumph not only for the artists but also for the curators.
The exhibition, inspired by the theme of alter ego, was curated by the museum’s Teen Council–13 high school students who work with two staffers to produce media projects on issues affecting youth.
“The idea is to give teens a forum to express themselves,” said museum educator Hatuey Ramos Fermín.
After choosing the theme, the Teen Council put out an open call for teen artists citywide and received about 100 submissions.
“It’s a great opportunity for (young artists) to show at a museum at such a young age,” said Hannie Chia, the museum’s programs manager.
Teen Council members narrowed the selection to 24 drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures. Earlier this week, they worked to install the pieces.
Among them, is an untitled painting by artist Mohammed Hossain that shows a man emerging from a pyramid and reaching for an apple. It’s one of teen curator Kwadwo Asamoah’s favorites.
“The apple symbolizes truth but the the man is being held back by his foundation. That’s what I see,” said Asamoah, 17, of Concourse. “I think this picture is so important because I feel that a lot of people today aspire to become things that they want to be, but they’re being held back.”
Another piece, “Not Everyone Can See It” by Yrma Batista, is an intricate drawing with the words “Everything has beauty but not everyone can see it” hidden within the swirling pattern of lines.
“We felt like this picture summarizes alter ego, that everyone has a beautiful side but it’s not always brought to the surface,” said curator Eric Avila, 17, of Harlem.
Putting together the art show proved quite the learning experience.
“It definitely broadened my view of art,” Avila said. “I’m a photorealist artist. But with this gallery show, I tried to look for the deeper meaning in the pieces.”
The experience brought life lessons as well.
“We learned to work together,” said Asamoah. “Sometimes it was very difficult to get your voice heard but we got past that. And that’s how we were successful.”
“The Other I” will be on exhibit until July 8 at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse. For more information, visit bronxmuseum.org.