When people normally say “there’s an elephant in the room,” it’s generally associated with a negative connotation.
Often it can also lead to others throwing shade. Creative Multi-Media artist and LGBT activist, Niki Lopez is changing that paradigm and bringing fresh light to the historical phrase. “What’s’ Your Elephant” uses a combination of art exhibits, interactive installations, and workshops to provoke and facilitate meaningful discussions unveiling issues around gender, discrimination, and abuse.
WYE works with the public, at risk groups, and communities. They also collaborate with community groups, artists, non-profits, and corporate organizations
WYE Artists Talk and Open Mic will take place on Sept. 29 at the 1310 Gallery in Fort Lauderdale. WYE’s closing night will feature an artist talk with all of the visual artists within the exhibition. There is a total of 18 gifted artists in the show including Lopez, Adewale Adenle, Natalya Kochak, Teepop, Mary Catello, Wilbert Simpson, Naomi Ross, Tabatha Murda, Artists for Black Lives Matter Collective and Stonewall National Museum & Archives.
The artist talk will be followed by an Open Mic hosted by Alana DaCostas from Kr8tive Uprising. WYE premiered its latest exhibition in August. The closing exhibition commemorates five years since it debuted at the 1310 Gallery. One of the highlights of the exhibit is a self portrait, mixed media video installation by Lopez herself. It’s a creative installation that blends performance art and a childhood poem Lopez wrote during her adolescent years. “Caressed” is one of those thought-provoking pieces that leaves you wanting more. Prepare yourself accordingly.
Recently, Lopez has received nationwide media exposure as she shared her “elephant” with People magazine and Discovery Channel’s Cult series. “I felt vulnerable, nervous but also a sense of responsibility. It’s tough to talk about some of the situations that I grew up as my norm,” mentioned Lopez. “In the back of my mind, I know I will also have to prepare myself for the backlash from current cult members, many who have never met the man personally but they need to support the lies and they view me as a threat.”
As a child, Lopez was raised in an abusive cult that was into secrecy. Thanks to her efforts, as well others the cult was brought down. “It makes me realize the impact of What’s Your Elephant and how its needed in so many communities and I have a responsibility to push it further,” Lopez declared. “I take a deep breath and just put one foot in front of the other.”
WYE produces an array of emotions. With an event that encompasses so many elements, don’t be surprised if you leave the exhibit feeling better than when you arrived. “I want people to feel they are not alone. There is strength in community. We can all lean on each other,” Lopez said. “There is strength in community. We can all lean on each other. I want artists to feel there is a space to put this type of work and encourage other artists to explore their elephants and know its a relevant art form that has purpose and impact.”
For more information on What’s your Elephant, visit NikiArtStudio.com/whats-your-elephant/ The event is free and open to the general public.
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