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Photo: Courtesy of Wave Pool

Lunaz (2018-2022), Girls of the revolution strstuffing fabric with embroidery

Art is the gift that keeps on giving. It gives us a chance to connect, remember and reflect, and the current Wave Pool exhibition, A giftoffers viewers a beautifully wrapped gift filled with care and thought about the works on display.

Wave Pool is a quaint but lively contemporary art gallery in Camp Washington. The gallery gives artists a platform for their art to become part of the social fabric of the community and change to make a difference and provide connection.

“We’re really interested in making art accessible because we think it’s such a powerful tool for changing the world,” says Maria Seda-Rieder, Director of Exhibitions/Artist Support Initiatives and Curator A gift exhibit “What we are doing is to make room for our neighbors. It’s an arts community, it’s Camp Washington, but it’s also Cincinnati as a whole.”

Seda-Reeder says she first thought of “the gift” as a theme for the 2021 exhibit when the gallery was filled with bright light and colors that reminded her of a gift to the community.

“Part of me is always thinking about what I can do in this space because it’s not a typical white box like most galleries,” Seda-Reeder says. CityBeat. “I had an 18-month calendar and I found it the other day and I scribbled notes and put ‘A gift – a neighborhood holiday show?’

After coming up with a theme, she needed to determine which artists had a vision that fit the purpose of the show.

“I think my job as a curator is to ultimately find artists whose vision I can trust, and when it’s time to give up, because ultimately I can say that’s what I’d like it to be in of this space, but I want it to be your vision, she says.

One of the first artists Seda-Reeder approached was Lunaz, a Cincinnati-based artist from Iran with whom she had worked previously. When plans for the exhibition began, Lunaz had a different idea of ​​what she would be exhibiting, but that quickly changed in September, when tensions and outrage rose in her home country of Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody.

Lunaz’s multimedia installation is a development of the exhibition she did in 2017 and is divided into two parts. The first part includes an audio recording of poems by Tahirih Qurrat al-Ain, a 19th-century Baha’i poet and activist for women’s rights in Iran, as well as a white cloth on a table on which viewers can add their own stitches while listening to the recording. The second part is a textile panel containing the iconic image of the resistance of a girl with her face covered by a scarf but her hand clenched into a fist.

The two-part performance is installed in a corner of the gallery to provide a private and contemplative space for the viewer to experience both parts of the installation separately and as a whole.

“When this whole movement started again in September, I thought, well, the movement has been developing since 2017,” Lunaz says. CityBeat. “They have come so far – women. It’s mostly women at the forefront of these protests, so I thought maybe the pieces are still relevant because they’re talking to each other. And I thought that the movement had evolved dramatically, that it was time for the piece—whatever remained of the former performance piece—to evolve, as it were.”

One of the novelties of the installation is poppies on a textile panel hanging on the wall. Lunaz says she chose poppies because they symbolize hope, memory and new beginnings.

“All these flowers are the souls of those who lost their lives and good energy,” she explains. “The message is poignant in the sense that it’s hard, but at the same time I feel like there’s hope because it brings change and positive change even though it’s very heartbreaking and hard.”

Lunaz embroidered the poppies on the panel over time with the help of two close friends, both women from different generations and backgrounds, which was important to Lunaz in creating the piece.

“We started embroidering these flowers to express our intentions, as a simple way to bring home our good intentions and what they are fighting for and develop the piece into what it is now,” says Lunaz.

For Lunaz, the use and transformation of past works in the current exhibition has a deep meaning.

“I feel that connecting the future with the past gives hope,” she says. “We will learn from history that this is not the end.”

Seda-Reeder says she is happy to be able to include Lunaz’s experience as an Iranian woman in the exhibit.

“The show is about reciprocity, and these waves of feminism have shown to me how we can create some movements of love and generosity and peace in the world when we come together,” Seda-Reeder says. “Unless we want to say it’s just my fight or it’s just your fight. And you know, we’re all on the same team. We all want freedom, creativity and self-expression for the whole world.”

Lunaz says she hopes viewers will be able to gain a deeper understanding of life in Iran and the movement happening there right now, recognize the struggles in her homeland, and take what they learn out into the world.

“What Iranians are asking for right now is just to keep history in the spotlight for everyone, so I thought it was relevant to the theme of the exhibition,” Lunaz says.

The exhibition includes three installations by three other artists, including an archival doll, Washing machine, from the Bread + Puppet show in 1979. Bread + Puppet is a world-traveling group of artists founded by Peter and Elka Shuman in 1963 who believe that art is as important to the world as bread, so they give out free bread at their shows. . Seda-Reeder explains that the group gives away free tickets and only passes the hat for donations to help fund the show, allowing for open access to the art.

“These gestures were very much in line with what I hoped the show would be about,” says Seda-Reeder.

Also on display is the fascinating work of multidisciplinary Latin American artist and educator Rebecca Nava Soto. Her multimedia work, A scroll of speechexplores the connection between indigenous people and the natural world and includes a QR code alongside the work for viewers to learn more about Xinanchkalko, an indigenous collective space in Cuentepeque, Morelos, Mexico, for scholars and indigenous people.

The last of the four pieces is by multimedia artist, designer and poet Michael Thompson. His installation-based painting focuses on the challenges facing artists in the world and the relationship between consumers and the artist’s ultimate gift, their work.

The Gift is on view through Feb. 25 at the Wave Pool, 2940 Colerain Ave., Camp Washington. information:

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