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This event is part of a series – see below for details.

Sculpting Silent Narratives: My Love Letters, a solo exhibition by Janice Lardey

16may10:00 a.m.9:00 p.m.Sculpting Silent Narratives: My Love Letters, a solo exhibition by Janice LardeyIn the gallery at the WaterFire Arts Center, May 2 - May 26

Event Details

Afie Nkonnwa, 2024 (re-imagined Ghanaian kitchen stools) Janice Lardey made in collaboration with Sandyva.

Sculpting Silent Narratives: My Love Letters is a month-long solo exhibition by Janice Lardey in the gallery at the WaterFire Arts Center. This exhibition is a poignant exploration into the untold stories and a tribute to the resilience of generations of women in Lardey’s family exploring themes of identity, societal expectations and belonging. The artist utilizes diverse techniques and styles experimentally and playfully to sculpt out the stories from these women. Lardey draws inspiration from the expressive potency of symbols and patterns found in West African textiles, infusing her artistic practice with their rich cultural significance. Through her meticulous use of patterns, symbols, colors, and abstraction, she reimagines these traditional motifs within her own narrative and creates a visual language to imbue her textile pieces with layers of meaning, uncertainty and emotions.

Each piece serves as a love letter, celebrating imperfection and inviting viewers into the tender vulnerability often associated with womanhood. Through interactive elements and collaborative storytelling with these women, the exhibition sparks conversations about gender roles, empowerment, self-love and rediscovery. The pieces are made possible through interviews collected from these collaborators: Mama Ama, Jessie Baby, Sis Abi, Aunty Gladys, Maami Ante, Silent participant.

The exhibition is on view in the WaterFire Arts Center gallery from Thursday, May 2 through Sunday, May 26, 2024 with an opening reception on Thursday, May 2 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. An artist talk will take place on Thursday, May 23 starting at 6pm. 

The third Thursday of the month, May 16, is Gallery Night Providence, the WFAC gallery as well as other art spaces in the city are open late and trolley tours are available.

The WaterFire Arts Center store + gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to all, donations encouraged.

A statement from the artist,

My interest in surfaces, color, patterns, and textures has been pivotal in shaping my artistic practice and research into textiles and print cultures. Having grown up immersed in a culture where fabrics and textiles held significant importance, my appreciation for color, symbols, patterns, and textures has been deeply cultivated. This mirrors my profound interest in the rich history and symbolic significance imbued within fabrics, particularly those originating from West Africa, notably Ghana and Nigeria. These textiles not only serve as tangible expressions of cultural heritage but also as repositories of stories, traditions, and identity, inspiring my exploration and reinterpretation of their artistic language within my own work.

My practice is rooted in exploring the methods of their creation and the potent symbols they bear. I am captivated by symbols and basic geometric forms as a communicative tool which hold immense cultural importance in African traditions. Through each brushstroke and designed textile piece, I embark on a journey of self-reclamation, striving to contribute to the conversations of challenging prevailing narratives about gender roles and societal expectations in our contemporary world.

Concurrently, my work probes themes of patriarchy, sustainability, domesticity, self, and everyday life. Central to my creative process is the development of a visual vocabulary of symbols and patterns, reflecting my deep connection to these subjects and interests. My research focuses not only on reconstructing and recontextualizing the significance of materials to create new narratives that challenge these status quos but also on creating utopic experiences that I can thrive in.

Through process, experimentation, and repetition, materials are staged to communicate with one another. This involves deliberate layering of gestures and an embrace of chance. I employ diverse techniques, such as painting, printmaking, papermaking, sewing, dyeing, and an expanding vocabulary of experimental processes. I work with natural and synthetic dyes, acrylic paints, printmaking inks and thrifted fabrics. By embracing these diverse range of techniques, I strive to push the boundaries of traditional art forms and explore new horizons in my work.

My artistic journey is not limited to conventional art tools; rather, it is entangled with discovering and utilizing found tools. This experimental and fluid approach to work also allows me to incorporate and explore sculptural and dimensional forms.Through my material sources, I aspire to breathe new life and meaning into the familiar while working with the hidden identities and charged histories of said materials. My art serves as a catalyst for challenging traditional norms, empowering myself, and other women around me to embrace their identities and forge their paths.

This project was made possible in part through support from the Interlace Grant Fund, a regranting partner of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

About the Artist

Janice Lardey is an experimental artist from Ghana and a recent graduate from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), USA, where she earned her Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Sculpture from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana.

Lardey’s profound interest in surfaces, color, patterns, and textures has been pivotal in shaping her artistic practice and her research into textiles and print cultures. Her works explore various media, including printmaking, painting, drawing, applique, dyeing, sewing, and papermaking. Her work examines themes such as societal gender roles, patriarchy, the everyday, sustainability, domesticity, loss, the transient nature of life, and material effects.

Lardey’s art serves as a catalyst for challenging traditional norms, empowering herself, and other women around her to embrace their identities and forge their paths. Currently, she teaches Design at the Experimental and Foundations Department at Rhode Island School of Design, USA, while also contributing to the work of Rhode Island Black Storytellers in Providence.
Lardey’s work has been featured in exhibitions, both solo and group exhibitions and recognized through grants and funding. These include exhibitions like the 8th Collegiate Paper Art Traveling Exhibition Triennial spanning 2022 to 2024, RISD’s Graduate Thesis Show (2023), “A Moment That Lasts Beyond Now” (2023), “Planet Earth, The Environment and Our Future” (2022) at the WaterFire Art Center, and “The Black Biennial” (2022), which celebrated the Black artist community in Providence. She was the winner of the juried paper show during the 8th Collegiate Paper Art Triennial. Additionally, she was a recipient of Society of Presidential Fellowship at RISD, the 2024 Interlace Project Fund, the West Bay View Foundation Thesis Material Award (2023), RISD Graduate Student Commons Grant Award (2022), and the Baden-Württemberg Stipendium, Germany in 2018.


Event Times

May 16, 2024 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.(GMT-04:00)


WaterFire Providence

WaterFire Providence® is an independent, 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organization whose mission is to inspire Providence and its visitors by revitalizing the urban experience, fostering community engagement and creatively transforming the city by presenting WaterFire for all to enjoy.

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