Shadhinotar Rong / The Color of Freedom

As an inaugural part of our new series "Art is Borderless", please join us on Saturday, December 19th from 3-5pm at Twelve Gates Arts (51 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia) for the opening reception of a first of its kind group exhibition of the artwork created by young art students from the Bangladeshi American community in Southern New Jersey. These young artists, whose names and school grades are listed in alphabetical order below, are students of Philadelphia-based, Bangladesh-born artist Mashiul Chowdhury. (All the artwork will be available for sale with all proceeds to be placed in trust for the students exhibiting in this show. 

Femy Aree Alam (Kindergarten) I Vivian Arasha Alam (2nd Grade) I Nusaiba Anika (10th Grade) I Rowan Elias (5th Grade) I Tangim Elma (5th Grade) I Mehreen Akhter Mahmood (3rd Grade) I Raiyan Mahmud (4th Grade) I Sadia Parisha Manir (5th Grade) I Rehan Rahman (3rd Grade) I Ibrahim M. Wafi Rashid (1st Grade) I Sharina Siraj (6th Grade) 

In the fateful year of 1971, December is the month in which Bangladesh won its hard- earned and blood-soaked independence. The title of this show evokes this historic event, one of the most important roles that art plays in the lives of children and young adult freedom of creative self- expression. 

Navigating a 21st century "digital" childhood is difficult enough. Having to do so as the child of immigrant parents living between two worlds (the home of the imagination versus the reality that is home) presents its own unique set of challenges. Often young artists like the ones whose works are being exhibited in this show do not have the luxury of defining who they are or of charting their own courses in this world - Are you American enough for Americans? Are you Bangladeshi enough for Bengalis? What if you're not among the best students in your school? What professions can you realistically aspire to? 

A heavy burden indeed on small shoulders. 

Among all the expectations of our lived realities, creative expression through art provides much needed room to find out who we uniquely are undefined by anyone, anything or anywhere else. What are our hopes, dreams, aspirations, memories, observations? How do we or would we like to see the world around us? 

Through their eyes, that is, through experiencing their artwork, we are provided a rare look into all the colors that make up their multi-faceted young worlds. And, we hope, this experience changes us as well and brings us all closer together.