Stylo Starr is a designer and visual artist that has been perforating the Hamilton art scene for quite some time. You might recognize her work from shows like DUODECIM VESTIMENTUM and 89 Dames, which featured digital and mixed media collage and print images that celebrate African American artists, actors, and creative thinkers in an homage to bring their legacies to the realm of the visible.
Both these shows have been exhibited respectively in the main front gallery of Centre 3 on James Street North over the past two years.
Back at the start of summer word was out that Starr’s prolific tribute to African women from the 50’s and 60’s (in an 89-piece collage and print series) titled Self Made: Stylo Starr’s 89 Dames was being exhibited in the Young Gallery (Interactive “Living Room” space) in the Art Gallery of Hamilton. I was so excited to see a contemporary local and talented black artist like Starr being recognized and championed in the city’s largest gallery.
This exhibit is pretty special and speaks volumes about our pop-culture (and cultural) legacy regarding who gets recognized and who gets left behind.
It’s a large gallery space with black painted walls and 89 individual square framed photo transferred images of black women, who once graced the covers of Jet Magazine from the 50-60’s, all printed on top of delicate paper collage layers of lace, colourful pattern and print.
The 89 Dames are exhibited along side some iconic Andy Warhol screenprint’s (from the AGH’s collection).
It’s an interesting juxtapose to see Warhol’s giant pop-art images of Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Onassis, plus Canada’s Karen Kain. Warhol’s prints of these women are world re-known and easily recognizable (to most) in contrast to Starr’s 89 humble but strong and equally as colourful pop-art-esque army of forgotten or under-recognized women like Coretta King, Eartha Kitt, and Joyce Bryant from the very same era.
It’s an exhibit that one can truly experience. There is an interactive component to the exhibit space, where you can make your own collage to contribute. In true living room fashion, this gallery lends itself to having conversations about our contrasting views on art and beauty. Post your own collage creations made from the exhibit and share via #AGHselfmade .
This month the AGH is hosting its first live concert in conjunction with First Fridays in the Living Room gallery space (along side Stylo Starr’s 89 Dames).
Shanika Maria, an amazing local Hamilton musician, will be playing a free concert at 7 pm. She has a sweet, sweet voice that you’ll want to soak up and revel in. It’ll be a perfect way to wind down your week and celebrate Friday.
Every first Friday of the month from 4 to 8 pm admission to the AGH is free.