Visit to the Portland Art Museum

This weekend I had the opportunity to visit the Portland Art Museum. To be honest, I went there for inspiration. When I attended fashion school back in 2012, downtown Portland and the Portland Museum was the best way to find inspiration for my next collection or any project that I was doing at the time. Since those days, I forgot about my design process. I recently realized how much it helped me create my art and designs in those days. So, I decided to grab the husband and take him on a date to the museum. What I got from that trip was more than just a spark of inspiration.

I had the privilege of seeing the Hank Willis Thomas exhibit on its’ very last day. This exhibit was thought-provoking and invoked many different feelings. I can’t say that I didn’t walk out of there a little changed by it…in a good way; more informed and aware.

The exhibit starts with an impressive display of flags formatted in a circle with stars on them. Each star represents a life lost to gun violence. An issue close to Thomas’s heart as he lost his friend/cousin to gun violence. Within the entire exhibit, you were confronted with some of the most critical issues plaguing us today – racism, violence, inequality, and injustice. The art, sculptures, photographs, and interactive media was very approachable. It provided a seated section and books for attendants to sit, read, and to have an open conversation. This exhibit displayed the historic struggle and oppression, but also full of hope for meaningful change. Thomas believes that our past as a whole can help in moving us forward in constructive and collaborative ways.

I really enjoyed the photographic portion of the exhibit. This portion dealt with corporate branding and advertising, and the role it plays in myths and stereotyping of race and gender. One half focused on ads from the '50s -'80s with the ad text removed. The other half was on Caucasian female ads from the '50s – '80s, also with the text removed. It defiantly told a powerful story. All I had to do was stand back and look at each photograph/ad. I will not soon forget this experience and I’m thankful I was able to see it.

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