The culturally diverse show now running at Shephard Fine ArtSpace is the result of owner Melissa Breese’s inspiration, her own experiences, and her network of globally conscious friends. The collection of art on display through July 1 is created by natives of Zambia, Cape Verde, and a women’s collective in the Port-Au–Prince area of Haiti.
Ms. Breese admits the artwork — “amazing in its own right” — is not typical of what is shown in her gallery.
But beyond the colorful images themselves, she explains that she was affected by the stories behind the art.
The Cape Verde community whose work is represented was created by the Veridian community from the Vineyard, New Bedford, and Providence to collectively help themselves deal with critical financial hardship.
“I used to live in Fox Point, a Cape Verde neighborhood in Providence, Rhode Island, when I was a graduate student at Rhode Island School of Design (RISDI),” Ms. Breese says, “so I am familiar with the wonderful sights, sounds, and aromas of native food. I was really determined to figure out a way to showcase the talent and the message behind it all.”
Ms. Breese is also involved the Haiti Art Quilt organization (she plans on going to Haiti in November, volunteering as a French to English interpreter). The hand-crafted quilts are made by a women’s collaborative in the Port-Au-Prince area. All proceeds go directly to these women who are supporting families during the post-earthquake reconstruction.
“All of a sudden this thematic concept for a cohesive yet culturally diverse exhibition emerged,” Ms. Breese says. “I asked Marsha Winsryg of the local nonprofit, African Artists’ Community Development Project that helps fund local African Children’s Aid Organizations, if we could also showcase some of her Zambian crafts, and she was fully on board.”
Also featured are local talents: the paintings and sculptures of Angel Quinonez, owner of Amity Ink on Dukes County Avenue in Oak Bluffs (“I was his art teacher at an arts magnet school in Providence, 20 years ago,” Ms. Breese recalls), who went on to Brown University and RISD; and the unique art of Dugg DesJardines, who transforms found objects into meticulously crafted whimsical pieces.
“It might all seem to some rather an unorthodox way of putting together a show in such a sophisticated space, but sometimes things just serendipitously happen that way,” Ms. Breese says. “I am very pleased with how everything looks, delighted by the entire process and grateful for all participating. I hope the community will stop by to enjoy the experience and to support these wonderful artists.”
Shephard Fine ArtSpace, show of art from Cape Verde, Haiti, and Zambia runs through July 1. 8 Uncas Ave. 508-696-8001.