Mattress Factory Announces “Civil Rights and Civil Wrongs” Exhibition Featuring Artists from Pittsburgh and South Africa

PITTSBURGH, PA (February 5, 2018) – Seven artists have been chosen to create new work in Civil Rights and Civil Wrongs: South Africa and US, an exhibition opening at the Mattress Factory on May 25, 2018. Dr. Tavia La Follette is returning to collaborate with the museum on this exhibition, the latest in a series that brings American artists and artists from countries facing human rights crises together in a virtual – and actual – dialogue. Previous projects involved artists from Egypt in 2011, and from Israel and Palestine in 2013.

In Civil Rights and Civil Wrongs, four artists from South Africa work with three artists from Pittsburgh. Each artist confronts racial politics using different mediums, explains La Follette: “We have a sound artist who archives the world around him, a filmmaker who addresses gentrification, and a multimedia artist who brings together myth and futurism. We have a choreographer who considers himself a community developer, an outsider architect who engineers castles from forgotten debris, a painter and printmaker who captures uprisings in mining towns, and a formerly incarcerated drug dealer turned art teacher who is a role model to the children around him.”

The Mattress Factory welcomes four artists from South Africa.

  • Henry Albertus recycles rubbish from junkyards to create many-leveled sculptural castles echoing architecture from all over the world in Capricorn Township, a shantytown in the Cape Town region.
  • Asanda Kupa’s works in painting and printmaking speak directly to South Africa’s dramatic socio-economic inequalities, troubled political landscape and the atrocities of the mining industry.
  • Charlie Jansen is trained as a Community Art Facilitator and muralist and works at the Butterfly Project in Cape Town, serving low income families from pre-school to adulthood.
  • Mbovu Malinga is a performing artist, specializing in theater and dance, as well as a community activist who works with children in Cape Town and the surrounding rural areas.

Three Pittsburgh-based artists will show new work in the exhibition, which runs through July29, 2018.

  • Alisha Wormsley uses photography, video, and sculpture to examine collective memories, the synchronicity of time, and racial identity and history.
  • Chris Ivey is a documentary filmmaker whose work challenges audiences to think more broadly and inclusively on issues like race, class, and gentrification.
  • Ricardo Iamuuri Robinson is a composer, field recordist, and audio-visual artist, whose work explores the relationship between sound, image, object, and place.

An opening reception will be held Friday, May 25 from 6 – 8pm at the museum’s 1414 Monterey Street gallery.

Admission for the event is free for all ages.