SANTA BARBARA — The Atkinson Gallery at Santa Barbara City College will be hosting an exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist Muna Malkin starting Oct. 23.
The “Blessing of the Boats” exhibit will be on display through Dec. 10. Since the interior space of the gallery is currently closed to the public due to COVID-19, the installation will be presented on the gallery’s outdoor sculpture terrace so that it may be viewed remotely from Pershing Park and other locations around the city.
Ms. Malik uses abstract paintings and interactive sculpture to create poetic imagery around the narratives of women of color and refugees. She will present a webinar on her work at 4 p.m. Wednesday via Zoom.
The “Blessing of the Boats” is an ongoing art project focused on a series of large illuminated sculptural boats made of metal and reflective surfaces. The project prompts
interaction with the public by encouraging viewers to create small paper origami boats with personal heartfelt messages for the future. The messages are then collected and added to each installation, allowing it to grow over time. The first installation of “Blessing of the Boats” was featured at the Northern Spark Arts Festival in Minnesota in 2016. This installation allowed Northern Spark Festival goers to take an artist-led journey across the historic Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis. On the walk, they experienced music, poetry and stories performed by local artists directly connected to the ongoing refugee crisis. The journey culminated in a silent vigil surrounding the “Blessing of the Boats” installation commemorating refugees who’d lost their lives journeying to safety.
The installation has evolved by expanding its focus and replicating it in new public and private spaces around the country. Building on the initial topic of global migration, the goal now is to prompt people to consider how together we can create a better society.
The project asks the questions, “What messages would people leave if they knew it would have a large impact on someone anywhere in the world?” and, “If we have the opportunity to sail toward a new future, what society would you build and how do we get there?”
Those who wish to leave origami boat messages can mail them or drop them off safely at unmanned stations installed on campus and other local locations.
For more information on where and how to view the installation and where to send origami messages, go to: http://gallery.sbcc.edu/upcoming-exhibitions.html.
— Mitchell White