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Works from the Montserrat Archives

President’s Gallery

July 6, 2022 - September 10, 2022

Samuel Bak, Gelin Buteau, Fay Chandler, Dr. Leslie King Hammond, and Norman Laliberte

Gallery Hours
Open to Montserrat community M-F, 10am-5pm or by appointment: [email protected]

The Montserrat Teaching Collection is a vast archive of work by former faculty, alumni, and artworks acquired through friends and donors of Montserrat.  The collection provides opportunities for current students to gain first-hand knowledge of the varied materials, methods, and thematic ideas used by a wide range of artists.  The summer exhibition in the President’s Gallery presents a selection from the collection, from newly acquired to older works.

On view in the President’s office are recent acquisitions by Samuel Bak and works on temporary loan by Dr. Leslie King Hammond. Dr. King Hammond and Samuel Bak, who served as Montserrat’s 2021 Convocation Speaker and the 2022 Commencement Speaker respectively, use their art to explore their biographies and cultural identities.  Dr. King Hammond draws upon her Caribbean ancestry, the African American experience, and different craft traditions to explore the anonymity of women’s labor and the intersection of African Diasporic spiritual beliefs. Samuel Bak, a Holocaust survivor, explores his memory of the Holocaust and its devastating aftermath to preserve Jewish life and culture in the wake of unfathomable atrocity. Both artists were presented with exhibitions in the Montserrat Galleries during the 2021-2022 academic year.

In the main office are a selection of works by Gelin Buteau, Fay Chandler, and Norman Laliberte. The Haitian born Buteau (1954-2000) creates imaginative paintings that explore aspects of Haitian life and culture. The paintings of two mermaid figures represent Mami Wata, a water spirit originating from West Africa and whose image is commonly found in African Diasporic and Caribbean literature and art. Mami Wata is described as a strong-willed, sensual siren and often depicted as half-human and half fish. In another untitled work, Buteau portrays a protest or uprising against the government, a commentary on the country’s political instability and corruption. Also on view are three small sculptures by the Boston artist and philanthropist, Fay Chandler (1923-2015), illustrative of the artist’s whimsical use of everyday materials and found objects and her focus on feminist themes related to women and childhood. Complimenting the informal style of Buteau and Chandler, is a small tapestry by the North Shore-based artist Norman Laliberte (1925-2021) from his 2019 retrospective exhibition in Montserrat Gallery. Laliberte created colorful and celebratory paintings and fabric tapestries, often resembling ancient hieroglyphics, which speak to a range of narratives, from the personal to the fantastical.

Images:

Samuel Bak (top), Once a Home, 1990, mixed media on paper, 12 x 16 in., (bottom) Emerging, 2003, watercolor, 7.5 x 7.5 in.