Updated: Dec 28, 2019
at University Hall Gallery, UMass Boston
Open everyday 12pm-6pm
Address: University Drive North, Dorchester, MA 02125
Phone: (617) 287-5707
Marlon Forrester (born 1976, Georgetown, Guyana, South America) is a painter, artist, and educator raised in Boston, MA. He is a graduate of School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, B.A. 2008 and Yale School of Art, M.F.A.
Ngoc-Tran Vu identifies as a 1.5-generation Vietnamese American multimedia and transnational artist whose socially engaged work draws from her experience as a community organizer, educator, and healer. She was born in Sài Gòn, Việt Nam and raised in Dorchester and South Boston, both working-class neighborhoods of Massachusetts. Tran received her MA in Arts and Politics at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and her BA in Ethnic Studies and Visual Arts at Brown University.Tran is also a graduate of the Center for Third World Organizing’s Movement Activist Apprenticeship Program (MAAP) as well as the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), Hai Bà Trưng School of Organizing, Undoing Racism®, and AARW’s Dorchester Organizing and Training Initiative (DOT-I). In addition, she is a member of the Winsor School Corporation.Tran is the Deputy Director at AIR (Association of Independents in Radio) where she advocates for independent producers in public media and mission-driven work. She also facilitates workshops on the arts, storytelling, digital activism, arts financial etc. Most recently, Tran taught in the Future Imagemakers program at NYU's Tisch Department of Photography. Tran works across borders and is based in Boston’s Dorchester Community.
Aiden Nguyen of Vănguard
Vănguard is an underground Zine founded in 2014 by two friends, Aiden and Nu, during their visit to Việt Nam. Our mission is to empower and endorse the visibility and individuality of self identified lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/trans* & queer (LGBTQ) Vietnamese artists and writers. We hope to establish a safe platform where LGBTQ individuals can freely express themselves and have their voices heard. Lastly, we aim to foster solidarity and unite the LGBTQ community through art, literature and activism.
Suzie “Cookie” Smith
In an homage to her grandmother, Suzie “Cookie” Smith’s sculpture Cara’s House renders a model of a proposed cultural center that Smith envisions founding in the home of her grandmother that Smith’s mother now owns. Located in Hayneville, Alabama, her home sits on a parcel of cleared land that is located adjacent to her sister, Rosie Steele’s farm. This is of historical significance because this land is located on the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail. On March 22, 1965 this land served as Campsite #2 for marchers walking 50 miles from Selma to Montgomery Alabama, a protest that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act later that year, upholding racial minorities’ constitutional right to vote under the 14th Amendment.
Deandra Shannon Spence
Youngest artist to show work at the University Hall Gallery
Joanna Tam is a Hong Kong-born, Boston-based visual artist and educator. Using video, photography, performance, text and installation, her works examine the issues of migration, citizenship, standardization, construction of national identity as well as the notion of home. Joanna's works have been exhibited nationally and internationally. Her projects were awarded the Best Art Film at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival in York, UK (2012), the People’s Choice Award and the Third Prize at the Prix de la Photographie, Paris (2009). Joanna has been the artist-in-residence at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, the Boston Children’s Museum and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. She co-founded and co-operated the exhibition and studio space Howard Art Project from 2011 - 2015. Joanna has taught undergraduate courses at the Wellesley College and Emerson College. She is currently a visiting lecturer at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and a part-time lecturer at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. Joanna holds an MFA degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University.
but that's what's expected of a twenty-one year old. Thankfully I am free from experiencing the atrocities Emmit Till suffered and in that sense, we've made progress. Because such progress has been made, it is difficult to establish a solid connection to the experiences of the aforementioned mentioned figures. Our experience is living with the tales of Rosa Parks and Huey Newton, but watching the trial of George Zimmerman unfold. Everyone digs into the past but is confronted with the idiosyncrasies of the present. Digital media allows us to time travel and our experience is a composite of what we find and what we see today. My work is an attempt at visualizing this dynamic. Like an event occurs in time, a layer composed of tape and paint is created. As time moves forward and new events occur, a new layer of paint covers the previous layer. While some things from the previous layers are lost, others are preserved and make an impression upon each new layer that is created. The process of cutting into the accumulation of material serves to mimic the act of reclaiming a connection to the past. The finished work is a documentation of this experience we all have. Things happen, they are lost to time, they make an impression, and we try to reclaim them.
Jamal Thorne is a Boston based artist who is known for his use of the drawing medium to investigate and visualize the nature of performed identity. With massive drawings, Jamal blends references from popular culture, religious iconography, and symbolism in an attempt to create a possible image of what our multilayered identities could look like.
About the exhibition:
Inspired by requests from our visitors to highlight more local artists, Dot Now presents artworks made by artists living and/or working in our neighborhood of Dorchester. The exhibition seeks to foster a stronger sense of community between artists in the area and UMass Boston while celebrating their work within the Greater Boston Area. Dot Now gathers a set of intergenerational artists who are working in a variety of media, connected through their locale and shared social concerns, but distinctive in their artistic practices and personal narratives. Supporting programming to be announced in the coming weeks will look at the ways in which artists in Dorchester are self-organizing to support and sustain the arts in their community by creating spaces, discourses, and contexts for their work and that of their peers. The artists that we have worked with during the development of this exhibition have proven to be closely interconnected, with many artists supporting one another’s work through events, studio programs, and exhibitions.
Known somewhat ironically as “The Dot,” Dorchester is Boston’s largest and most diverse neighborhood. The borough’s complex demographics, with a mixture of identities and international backgrounds intrinsically influenced our selection of artworks for Dot Now. African Americans make up the largest segment of the population of Dorchester by race (43% as of 2010), alongside prominent Vietnamese, Caribbean, and Latinx communities. The complexity of the neighborhood has led to an intersectional group of artists. For this reasons, the exhibition does not attempt to locate a single take on what it means to be an artist based in Dorchester, nor is it meant to act as a definitive gathering of different practices or trends taking place in the area. Instead, we have chosen to present a broad variety of artworks and artists with similarly diverse perspectives and techniques. Through their practices, these artists confront issues such as identity politics, globalism, and social practice, among others.
In an homage to her grandmother, Suzie “Cookie” Smith’s sculpture Cara’s House renders a model of a proposed cultural center that Smith envisions founding in the home of her grandmother that Smith’s mother now owns. Located in Hayneville, Alabama, her home sits on a parcel of cleared land that is located adjacent to her sister, Rosie Steele’s farm. This is of historical significance because this land is located on the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail. On March 22, 1965 this land served as Campsite #2 for marchers walking 50 miles from Selma to Montgomery Alabama, a protest that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act later that year, upholding racial minorities’ constitutional right to vote under the 14th Amendment. Local artist and designer, Aiden Nguyen, will present the full volume of the series of zines entitled Vănguard, a project he co-founded with Thanh Mai. The collaborators developed the zine to create a safe platform for the visibility and individuality of self-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/trans*, and queer (LGBTQ) artists and writers in Vietnam and across the Vietnamese diaspora. In two new projects by Andrew Mowbray, the artist sources materials from Dorchester Bay and his expansive collection of milk-crates to discuss issues of locality, utility, and design. This includes an architectural intervention stretching from floor to ceiling in the gallery that will tell a partial history of sixty years of milk-crate design. In another new installation entitled Make a Wish for Dorchester, Joanna Tam will share wishes from Dorchester residents, allowing visitors to share their thoughts on how to create a better neighborhood for themselves and others. We will also be including a portrait by the youngest artist to ever show at University Hall Gallery, Deandra Shannon Spence, who is a current student at the Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy, a tuition free charter public school located in Fields Corner. These projects and others will be complimented by programs that will activate the space, allow for performance based works, and help contextualize the exhibition within the art scene of Dorchester.
There are several arts organizations, institutions, and studios that have both public and private facing programs in Dorchester whom we interfaced with during the development of this exhibition, including the Dorchester Arts Projects, Design Studio for Social Intervention (DS4SI), the African Winter Studio, Humphrey Street Studios, Pearl Street Studios, and the Strand Theater. We would like to thank them as well as the many artists, curators, and residents that we met with during the development of this exhibition who continue to champion and sustain the arts in Dorchester.
Dot Now is made possible with generous support from the Paul Hayes Tucker Fund, a gift from The Paul and Edith Babson Foundation, and in kind support from the College of Liberal Arts at UMass Boston.