On View

Running Girl #6

Running Girl #6

Now through April 2, 2015

Gallery Bergen, Bergen Community College

Gallery Bergen presents “Running Girls” – an exhibition of 28 large mixed media works on paper by Brooklyn artist Mary Mihelic with an installation and performance works by Mihelic with Bergen Community College art students. This exhibition documents the escape of 53 girls from the Nigerian armed group Boko Haram and the continued captivity of at least 220 other girls abducted from their boarding school.

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The Artwork

The Running Girls series is in-progress. All 28 of these mixed media works completed to date will be shown at Gallery Bergen. The works themselves are large: 60″ x 44″ – nearly life-sized for a 12 or 13 year-old girl. Most are abstractly figurative, often referring to running. The profusion of curved lines and the use of negative space create a sense of vulnerability and energy without overstatement. Their subtle use of text often refers to literacy and numeracy – skills that women under Boko Haram would be prevented from attaining.

The gallery will also display an ongoing installation and performance piece, “Learning Girls,” with young women seated at school desks, engaged in the simple act of studying what they choose.

Another installation will be comprised of backpacks that are being collected by BCC’s Center for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation, the Student Government Association, Phi Theta Kappa, and Women’s History Month to raise awareness of the abductions and continued captivity of the Nigerian 223 girls, as well as the struggle of women worldwide for education and human rights.

For more information, contact Gallery Coordinator Tim Blunk: tblunk@bergen.edu

Bergen Community College, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus, NJ 07650

 

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15 comments

  1. The drawings were fascinated because it talked about all of the girls that got kidnapped in Nigeria by Boko Haram. It was fascinated to me because the drawings were talking about all of the different girls that could not escape and now they do not have freedom. The drawings are unique because it symbolizes girls that are running away for their lives. The drawings of the girls running can represent a lot of different things to people that will look at it different. For example, it can have a story behind it saying why the girls are running and why did the tragedy happened.
    The performance was great because it showed girls that were in a classroom and a guy coming into a class. There was another guy playing a song from Nigeria. The art affected me because I became scared because that can happen to us at Bergen Community College and we will have no idea how to escape from a tragedy like this that might happen. The music that a guy was playing was an accompanying music that made me feel relaxed and scared at the same time because that might be like a warning saying to leave the place cause something bad is going to happen.
    Mary Mihelic was the person who did the drawings and for her it was important because it showed like there was danger in the school in Nigeria She wanted people to help out and save the girls that were in danger from being killed. People are trying to collect backpacks to send it to Nigeria in order to bring the girls back from the kidnapped.

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  2. I really enjoyed looking at these paintings. I found them to be very interesting. The paintings were about the girls that were kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. The drawings help understand the girls and how they got kidnapped and the ones that ran for their lives. The boarders on the paintings can have meanings to it to. For example the boarder that looks like ripped paper out of a notebook can mean symbolize the girls getting ripped out of their school and taken. Looking at these paintings it really made you think about what if it were to happen to you. The way these are painted with such detail can really help the people better understand what these girls are going through. It really helped me understand and i feel bad for them because it could happen to anyone in the world.

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  3. Running girls exhibition by Mary Mihelic in West hall at BCC was very upsetting. The fact that these girls got kidnapped just because they wanted their right to an education is just astonishing. I liked how in each painting there was alot of detail. For example there were sneaker prints, words within the painting, and there was also little drawing of the terrorists with guns. Not only did the painting symbolize the story of each girl but even the frames around each painting symbolized something. The paintings were framed in black lace which represents marriage as well as widowhood. The paintings were also framed with paper that looked like when you tear a paper out of your notebook and the left side has scrunchy stuff on it. There were 53 girls that were brave enough to risk everything and escape the terrorists. Its upsetting because its not fair for these girls to be going through what they are going through just because they wanted an education. This exihibtion made me realize how much I take my life for granted and how much I complain about going to chool and studying when theres girls like these that were willing to risk their lives just for a basic education.

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  4. Personally, i found the entire art show a bit overwhelming at first, since it was my first time in an art gallery. Although, at first i did not understand what i was looking at, i did have fun trying to comprehend the artist’s work. None of the pieces were straight forward, so each work led to a plethora of theories and comprehensions by fellow class mates and I. Each work had a similar concept but had a different “feel” towards the situation. Some of the pieces where more graphic than others, and some were more directly tied to the situation, such as the piece with the chalkboard and the number being subtracted from the larger number, symbolizing the number of girls who were able to escape out of the total amount taken. Overall, i had a great experience in the gallery and would most definitely visit it again.

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  5. I was really interested by these paintings. They told the story of the 276 Nigerian girls that were kidnapped and also the 53 girls that escaped. The pieces showed that the artist, Mary Mihelic, put a lot of work into these paintings. They were very detailed. She used shoe laces as a border for some of the paintings. The paintings of the girls had footprints to symbolize them running away. There were little soldiers drawn all over the pictures of the girls. The crayon and pastel marks gave the girls a sense of movement, like running.
    My favorite pieces were the Dumb Luck, Good Luck, and Bad Luck paintings. They were very detailed pieces. Unlike the others, these three pieces had F’s in a circle in the corner. This symbolizes them failing to escape or failing to get an education. These paintings really showed the chaos and torture these girls were put through and for some, are still going through.

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  6. I enjoyed the paintings, but thought they would’ve appeared to be better. There was a lot of emotion behind these paintings. The paintings were done by Mary Mihelic. The paintings I viewed were about 276 girls who got kidnapped by Boko Haram. The word Boko Harma means “education is a sin”. These drawings represented adolescent girls escaping from danger and running, some were even wounded with “red” in the paintings. There were about 24 paintings, the paintings were very large in size. The surrounding border of the painting consisted of paper or bridal lace. The paper represented note books, education and award service in battle. The bridal lace represented forced marriage and widows. These paintings based off of my eyes included: tape,color pencil, pastel,crayon and maybe even wax.

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  7. I enjoyed the paintings, but thought they would’ve appeared to be better. There was a lot of emotion behind these paintings. The paintings were done by Mary Mihelic. The paintings I viewed were about 276 girls who got kidnapped by Boko Haram. The word Boko Harma means “education is a sin”. These drawings represented adolescent girls escaping from danger and running, some were even wounded with “red” in the paintings. There were about 24 paintings, the paintings were very large in size. The surrounding border of the painting consisted of paper or bridal lace. The paper represented note books, education and award service in battle. The bridal lace represented forced marriage and widows. These paintings based off of my eyes included: tape,color pencil, pastel,crayon and maybe even wax.

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  8. I found the paintings interesting, there was a lot to think about with the paintings. I noticed some minor key points in some paintings but a lot of them looked like they were drawn with crayon. There was a lot of significance in these paintings also, in the gallery was there a reason behind the desks was the theme about a classroom? The gallery believe it or not gives you a lot to think about it almost makes me want to do research on it, art work has a way of making me think sometimes.

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  9. I really enjoyed the “Running Girls” exhibit. It taught me a lot through Mary’s paintings. I didn’t know much about the kidnappings of the girls before visiting the exhibit. After leaving i felt i had a stronger understanding to all of it. Some of her paintings gave off a really strong feel i think of a loss of innocence and others were more filled with hope. Overall they each had different meanings and tons of symbolism supporting the conflict. It was a great learning experience through art.

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  10. To be honest, I believe the art gallery was fascinating. i truly admire how each painting had a unique touch to it. Every single painting was a bit different than the other, and had a different meaning than the other. I noticed that the colors in these paintings brought so much emotion that it felt like the paintings were trying to speak to me. Mary Mihelic, the artist that dedicated her time to draw these amazing paintings did an incredible job expressing feeling. The fact that there were small paintings within the actual painting is already incredible. The tiny paintings were paintings of armed soldiers. these small soldiers within the paintings stood for the tiny blurs that stood in the way of the girls that were kidnapped by Boko Haram. These small paintings within the actual work were done with the purpose to show the world that these women fought for themselves and stood higher than these tiny insignificant soldiers. “Running girls” are a symbol of strength, courage and honor to all the women because they fought for what they believe was right and equally fair.

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  11. I thought the show was very interesting. I think that the way Mary Mihelic showed so much symbolism in her paintings was awesome. I dont think i have a favorite peice because they were all so similar to me. I think the presentation comes together really well. This collection just makes me really upset to see that poor innocent girls are being abused and kidnapped. If i were some one else looking at these art pieces i would feel very sad and angry at the fact these poor girls have to go through so much at a young age.

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  12. The “Running Girls” exhibition at Gallery Bergen by Mary Mihelic was truly an eye-opening experience. As soon as you walk into the gallery you are surrounded by a variety of paintings that instill a sense of awe, wonder, and concern. The gallery also contained a video presentation and a series of empty desks that portrayed the disappearance of many female students. There were many symbols in the artwork. Mary used various elements of art to portray the anguish created by the Boko Haram, kidnapping innocent girls. She used space to force the viewer’s attention on the center of her paintings, placing focus on the pictured girls.

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  13. The “Running Girls” exhibition at Gallery Bergen by Mary Mihelic was truly a great experience. I didn’t know much about the kidnappings of the girls before visiting the exhibit, but now I know much more. There was a ton of symbolism, some of the borders had black lace, which I learned that I means marriage. The black ripped circles represented notebooks, which leads to education. The most intriguing addition to some of these great pieces of art, was the shoe prints. I feel like it really brought out the story of these girls, and helped show people like me, with minimal Art experience, the true meaning to the artists work.

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  14. I actually enjoyed the simplicity of the paintings because, to me, they told a lot without having to be too much. The art showed not just the girls but more motion. Some of the symbolism was very clear such as The setting of the room to be that of a classroom, as others were harder to find but once noticed were powerful.

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