The Window at The Corner is a series of ongoing micro-exhibitions occupying a window of The Corner exhibition space. Each micro-exhibition features an artist who creates works that uplift LGBTQ culture, health and wellness, the current political climate and/or the DC, Maryland, and Virginia communities. Artists are curated through The Corner’s curatorial residency program – with curators selecting artists to produce works of art and showcase them through The Window at the Corner. Lookout for more than seasonal updates to the window as we spotlight artists from the community.
About the Exhibit
Title: Protection Against the Protectors
Artist: Samera Paz
Medium: Digital Photography and Mixed Media
Date: Fall 2020
“I’m honored to be part of this opportunity to share my work in a community that I’ve considered home for the past 26 years. Through this collaboration I want to represent the social, political and emotional times we are in. To bring more light to our fight, demands and civil rights and amplify the voices of protestors, citizens of DC, the marginalized and the silenced.” – Samera Paz
Protection Against the Protectors is a visual showcase on protest culture. The installation displays materials used, and attire worn, by protestors. When we take the streets to stand up against racism, violence, prejudice and police brutality we are met with a strong opposition from those who “Protect and Serve.” We the community, can only find protection amongst ourselves. During the summer 2020 protests in Washington, D.C., the city endured 100+ days of ongoing protests. The streets were filled with active protests and individuals, organizations and local businesses who stepped up to assist, protect and provide. From passing out water and food, first-aid assistance, providing safe housing, organizing and more. We saw firsthand what it meant to be part of a community that took care of one another.
The Installation: (Far Left Window) An orange street cone sits with a water bottle on top. When teargas is deployed to “neutralize” humans, the most effective way to protect those around is to cover the live tear gas canister with a street cone and place an open water bottle through the opening of the cone to diffuse the tear gas.
In times of civil disruption, history is looked upon for guidance and at times reassurance. Literature like Assata is read to learn about the freedom fighters who came before us and how their experiences paved the way for our current fights.
Masks and goggles are used to protect from debris, airborne chemicals and COVID-19. They are also used as another layer of protection (anonymity).
(Middle window) Self-portraits in black clothing and facial coverings. Black clothing is worn to blend in with fellow protestors to avoid targeted harassment and harm. Photographs have been taken of protestors and surveillance footage has been used to charge, intimidate and prosecute protestors who are exercising their First Amendment.
(Far right window) Handmade signs made with cardboard and paint are hung with our messages, our demands and our wants for a better future.
Meet the Artist
Samera Paz (she/her) is a colombian-american visual artist and community organizer born and raised in Washington D.C.
She works in photography, visual 2D works, installation and performance art. Her work touches on the topics of gender, social and political issues, mental health and women’s rights. She has been featured in magazines, blogs, artist talks and has been exhibited around the U.S for her visual artwork.
Samera received media recognition for her use of bodily fluids within her art and was publicly labeled a feminist artist for her Menstrual Cycle series (2015). A collection of abstract paintings using her menstrual blood.
In 2015, she became the founder and director of Girl Power Meetups. A women’s empowerment organization based in DC that brings young women together for meetups and discussions on mental health, self love and women’s rights.
Meet the Curator
Our inaugural curator is Jewel Addy (she/her) – a Washington, DC transplant by way of Silver Spring, MD, South Orange, NJ, and Liberia, West Africa. Addy is the co-founder of Red Dot Campaign, Inc. a non-profit that supports menstrual health access and awareness through art, comedy and storytelling. Through this work, Jewel has co-led the curation of annual period-inspired art shows since 2016. Jewel works as the Director of Communications at Whitman-Walker Health, having worked at the organization in various capacities since 2015. During her time at Whitman-Walker, she has led projects including the 2017 and 2019 oral history collections through a partnership with the DC Oral History Collaborative and produced a 2018 documentary in partnership with DCTV called Fearless at 40: The Story of Whitman-Walker. The hour-long documentary highlights the organization’s shared history with community during its 40th anniversary year. The documentary was screened at the 2019 DC History Conference and the 2019 Alexandria Film Festival. Through these projects, Jewel has also led the creation of “40 Stories for 40 Years” – a digital story series consisting of audio oral histories, short videos, and written pieces uplifting the stories of community members, Whitman-Walker locations and past programs. The story series has set an example for historical and impact storytelling and community archiving.