By DAVID I. MUIR
Special to South Florida Times
FORT LAUDERDALE — It’s been a month of confessions and revelations at the 1310 Gallery, an artspace located within the Sailboat Bend Artists’ Lofts, a community created for resident artists.
Each month, the artists who live in Sailboat Bend host an exhibition, for July, visual artist Niki Lopez and singer/poet Alana DaCosta co-curated L’éléphant dans la Salle (the elephant in the room) Art Exhibition. L’éléphant dans la Salle is an idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored, or otherwise unaddressed.
The exhibit also features a “Confessional,” an interactive installation where patrons can share their “elephant.”
Lopez and DaCosta set up the exhibit to provide a safe place to discuss, promote or reveal issues and topics that are normally hidden from public view.
Lopez, for instance, revealed she was sexually abused as a child. She created a sculpture called Home Grown that reflects her childhood moles-tation “It’s about acknowledging it, owning it, so that it doesn’t define you,” Lopez said.
Last week, another topic that is sometimes hidden from the public view was on full display at the L’éléphant dans la Salle exhibition.
On July 24, the curators welcomed local LGBT women to join the exhibit. The women wanted a place to meet, while supporting the arts with an aim to raise funds to benefit the LGBT community at large. Dubbed “Thou Art Woman,” the event was co-hosted by lawyers, Ghenete Wright Muir, Phillipa “PJ” Hitchins and Shenika “Nik” Harris.
The event was a combination of visual and performing arts.
Performers touched, engaged and entertained the audience with poems and songs that shared experiences regarding being bisexual, lesbian or transgendered. Other performers participated to show their support of the LGBT community.
Poet Iva McDaniels kicked off the show with her poem, Bisexual Like Me.
DaCosta sang about a young girl reclaiming her freedom. Miss Finesse, a transsexual woman, performed a poem and sang sharing her experiences and celebrating womanhood.
Spoken word artist and supporter of the LGBT community Maru shared her experience of unknowingly being on a date with a woman. Singer Dana DellaCamera sang Fly Over Me, a song about new beginnings. The show with the nationally celebrated poet, Terese “Chunky” Hill. Hill has competed in the National Poetry Slam nine times and has been ranked fifth in the nation. Her powerful poems share her experiences as a lesbian. The evening also included the music of LGBT supporter dj fflood and transgender activist DJ Jessica Lam.
Come Aug. 2, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Lopez and DaCosta will host a community workshop with a licensed therapist called “What’s Your Elephant?”, where youth and adult participants can own the secrets they keep.
“The obvious is oftentimes ignored and swept under the rug. Some may chose to never understand it,” said DaCosta. “Yet, we all have the power of choice to free ourselves of whatever makes us uncomfortable.”
The following weekend, Aug. 9, from 7 – 10 p.m ., DaCosta closes the exhibit with a reception. Both events are free. Sailboat bend is located at 1310 SW Second Ct. (Middle Street), Fort Lauderdale.