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NO ONE will tell me who I am— a new exhibition premieres at the Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery at Emerson College

BOSTON, MA (December 7, 2016)—On Wednesday, December 14, a new exhibition titled NO ONE will tell me who I am will premiere at the recently opened Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery. The exhibition explores the current generation’s desire to construct new and diverse identities that defy the rigidity of social, cultural, and situational uniformity. Free and open to the public, the exhibit will show through Saturday, February 18, 2017 (note: it will be closed during the holidays from December 18, 2016 to January 18, 2017). Located at 25 Avery Street, Boston, the Emerson Urban Arts gallery is open Wednesday–Saturday, 2:00–7:00 pm.

NO ONE will tell me who I am is curated by Emerson College undergraduate students as part of the What Is Contemporary Art? Visual and Media Arts course. Students in the class conducted studio visits at the graduate studios of Boston University School of Fine Arts, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and the School of Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, and selected a group of 11 young artists for the exhibition.

“Curating an exhibition gives students an opportunity to understand what makes their generation unique through the eyes of their contemporaries in the visual arts,” said Joseph Ketner, the Lois and Henry Foster Chair in Contemporary Art Theory and Practice and distinguished curator-in-residence, who teaches the Visual and Media Arts class.

“I knew, and everyone knew, when we signed up for this course that there was something very special in the way the course was structured, what it required from students, and the unique hybridization of a seminar class and production work,” said Visual and Media Arts student Josh Samuels ’17. “The experience has been extraordinary—whenever you start to deal with identity, it inherently becomes personal. These featured artists are pouring themselves into their work, and we’re pouring ourselves into the gallery.”

In today’s politically unstable and globalized world, the NO ONE will tell me who I am exhibit follows the current generation in its hunt for ipseity. The 11 featured artists constructed and documented their own unique identities, aiming to uncover where they fit in a diverse and changing society. Some invoke the haziness of memory in order to construct contemporaneous insights on the self throughout time. Others focus on their culture, seeking to take ownership of the mingled heritages and ethnicities of a globalized society. Others still construct identity around the misconceptions of popular stereotypes. Utilizing various mediums, all the artists react to the inflexible social categories, projecting the idea these categories can and should be bent out of shape into something entirely their own.

In the words of Lennon Walcott, School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, “I am the creator of my story… I am the authority of my culture.” Homa Sarabi, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, describes her work as “happening in the moment and reproducing present and past.”

“It’s a special opportunity to look into the graduate studios of today and see the work that will be the voice of the emerging generation of artists. It is always new, changing, and invigorating,” said Ketner.

The following 11 artists will have their work displayed at the NO ONE will tell me who I am exhibition:

 *   Riley James Allen (School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts)

 *   Isabel Beavers (School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts)

 *   Devki Modi (School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts)

 *   Nedaa Mulla (School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts)

 *   Victoria Nunley (Boston University School of Fine Arts)

 *   Cal Rice (School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts)

 *   Homa Sarabi (Massachusetts College of Art and Design)

 *   Shweta Sengupta (School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts)

 *   William Van Beckum (School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts)

 *   Lennon M. Wolcott (School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts)

 *   Graham Yeager (School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts)

About the Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery

The Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery will offer four to six exhibitions per year, featuring the work of outstanding national and international visual and media artists as well as Emerson’s advancements in the fields of emergent digital media, projection mapping, augmented reality, data visualization, and performance art. It will serve as the locus of Emerson College’s School of the Arts’ Urban Arts Program that has brought public art events to the City of Boston. Funding for the Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery has been provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, a program of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, administered through a collaboration between MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Coming in March 2017: MacArthur award-winning Camille Utterback’s interactive immersive environment Entangled (March 1–April 22, 2017). Additional funding has been provided by the George I. Alden Trust. For more information, visit<><></urban-arts>.

About Emerson College

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, with campuses in the Netherlands and Los Angeles, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. The College has 3,750 undergraduates and 750 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups. Emerson is known for its experiential learning programs in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, the Netherlands, London, China, and the Czech Republic.  For more information, visit<><></>.

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