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March  1 - 6

PAPER CUTS


A Solo Exhibition  by  
Imani Guy Duckette


Paper Cuts is an exploration of two opposing forces within me. Growing up in the South, I realized some of the stigmas and expectations of black fortitude seeped into my developing belief systems. Those ideals clashed with the very real, powerful emotions that flooded my mind and refused to be denied.  This caused a constant internal dialogue-turned-argument that left me exhausted, stagnant, and suspicious. Are you even Black? Are you even depressed? Can you be both? Paper Cuts was born to frame my questions about my identity, strength, and fragility. 

I created the original animation for my Senior year independent project at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. With advisement from my teachers and virtual support from my classmates, I felt the animation was the best way to illustrate the poem in the isolated climate of the pandemic. For this showing I used each finished frame of the animation as inspiration for each piece, adding on to the original design with more detail and intention. 

It was also a way for me to grieve. In 2020 I lost my two grandmothers. I felt the shapes that their loss left in my life and my family’s. This inspired my fascination with negative space and the shapes that make up the whole.  I replayed the lessons they taught me in my head as I cut out each tiny piece by hand. It was a way to honor them and weave them into an expression I put my all into. I miss them greatly and was moved to make them proud. 

This art form allows me to redirect the same energy that tingled under my skin urging me to let it out with a slice into something both fragile and strong. The transformative process is so intricate and repetitive that it tethers my wandering mind to what my hands are making. This allows me to escape the negative traps my thoughts get lured into so often. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the work. 

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Imani Guy Duckette is a New York-based, multi-hyphenated artist. She makes sense of the world through acting, writing, and visual art. She strives to find out how her different artistic expressions can feed each other. While growing up in Atlanta, Imani began her exploration of visual art by making gifts for the people in her life that helped spark growth within her. While she continues to show her love through gifted artwork,  she has expanded to explore other emotions and question herself through her paper-cut lace and collages.  As she grows as a person she is excited to see how her forever-developing craft shifts and changes.