God Rest America by Jaylin Stewart
August 1st to September 15th, 2019
The following text was written by Julie Leidner for the exhibition God Rest America by Jaylin Stewart at Sheherazade in 2019:
God Rest America by Jaylin Stewart is inspired by the street-side memorials that appear frequently in the neighborhoods of West Louisville to commemorate sites of tragedy—often as a result of gun violence—and that typically contain everyday objects favored by the fallen, such as liquor bottles or toys. Like the city of Louisville itself, this installation is largely segregated by color, and is a monument to the way that color can divide communities along political and racial lines. Says Stewart, a painter who is known for her work depicting the faces of local victims of gun violence: “This installation is a space for people to memorialize those they have lost in this country and gain awareness of what is going on in cities and communities all over America.” Embedded into the arrangement of the memorial are objects and textures that represent the tragic results of systematic oppression, such as weapons, dollar bills, and hypodermic needles. Stewart will be adding to the installation throughout the duration of the exhibition. The public will have a chance to engage with the installation on August 17th at 7pm, when a reception and interactive performance will be held including a eulogy performed by local poet Hannah Drake.
Jaylin Stewart is a 23 year old self-taught artist from Victory Park in West Louisville. In her short career, Stewart has received many accolades as both a painter and an activist in her community including the County Commissioner’s Active Citizenship Award, and the Activism Award presented by the Kentucky Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression. Recent exhibitions have included Dolor Remedy at the African American Heritage Center in 2018 and Ebony Transfiguration at the Louisville Urban League in 2019. As founder and CEO of a non-profit art school called Adah School of Art Inc., Stewart has also provided free art education for thousands of disadvantaged youth in the West Louisville community. Stewart is currently pursuing a BFA at the Kentucky College of Art and Design in Louisville and teaching art at the West End School, a free boarding school for at-risk boys.