Brittney Leeanne Williams, Caleb Hahne, Tesfaye Urgessa
Newchild is proud to announce its second exhibition Ma’Was Heavy, a group exhibition with works by Brittney Leeanne Williams, Caleb Hahne, and Tesfaye Urgessa. This is the first time the works of these artists are exhibited in Belgium. The show’s title, borrowed from John Steinbeck’s critically acclaimed novel The Grapes of Wrath, reminds us of the disparity between what we see and what we know. A dichotomy of nature; the perpetual struggle between burden and grace.
“Ma was heavy, but not fat; thick with child-bearing and work ... Her hazel eyes seemed to have experienced all possible tragedy and to have mounted pain and suffering like steps into a high calm and a superhuman understanding. She seemed to know, to accept, to welcome her position, the citadel of the family, the strong place that could not be taken.” ( - John Steinbeck)
The works in the exhibition use the representation of the human body as a tool to reflect on how both physical and emotional experiences forge our identities and manifest themselves not only in character but also in posture, form and energy. By alluding to notions of family, tradition, upbringing, and gender, as well as past and current socio-political realities, the exhibited works consider the burden that each of us harbour within our own identity. As children, our parental figures anxiously shield us from certain incomprehensible realities. Yet, in doing so, they shape our morality and disposition and inadvertently introduce an intergenerational burden which may be difficult to shed. Many of the artworks in the exhibition display this contrast; they are bold and joyful, yet dark and overpowering. A painterly oxymoron as they portray a certain naïveté and innocence, yet they manifest a distinct self-awareness of one’s history with its many conquered adversities.