New Brunswick, NJ–This fall the Center for Latino Arts and Culture and the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBTQ Communities will collaborate on a new two-site exhibition featuring the work of Jersey City-based artist and designer Jessica Natal.
The exhibit, entitled The Persistence of Memory–Letters from my First, will be on display October 14 through December 12 at the CLAC @ 122 College Avenue (College Avenue Campus) and the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities, Tillet Hall, Rm. 247, Piscataway, NJ (Livingston Campus).
The exhibition opens on October 14 on ocasion of National Ally Week.
Archiving the hand-written letters of her first romantic relationship, Jersey City-based designer and visual artistJessica Natal examines the interconnection between episodic memory and subconscious compulsion to unite two worlds that inform who she is today.
Natal uses everyday building materials like sheetrock and 2”x3” beams to denote the longstanding effects of memory as well as the fragility of each item when used as standalone objects. While encountering each monumental piece, the viewer is able to go on a journey of self-discovery as seen through the eyes of a teenage girl who is coming to terms with her feelings for her best friend and what that means for her family life.
This work is deeply personal to Natal as it represents her self exploration throughout her high school experience in the late 1990’s, when it was still taboo to be, “out of the closet”. It also documents real letters written to and from her first relationship which had to be kept secret from everyone closest to her. Once their relationship was discovered, the over arching effects of what happened to these two girls is still felt to this day.
According to Natal, “These are issues that still plague the LGBTQ community and in sharing this colossal part of I my past, I hopes to shed some light on the difficulties faced by young LGBTQ youth.”
Through this collaborative project, the Center for Latino Arts and Culture seeks to increase awareness about the challenges faced by Latino LGBTQ youth.
“We want our students to feel supported in expressing their gender identity, and Jessy Natal’s work tells a story that can be the starting point for a conversation about the difficult experiences of prejudice they may have experienced”, says Carlos Fernandez, Director of the Center for Latino Arts and Culture.
Jessica Natal is owner of Jessica Natal Designs, a full service graphic design firm focused on helping small businesses distinguish themselves. She has worked directly with the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency to design and paint a mural located on the back of the new Dunkin’ Donuts building on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Natal is a proud graduate of Rising Tide Capital, a non-profit organization located in the Greenville section of Jersey City and was a recipient of the “Esther Barish” scholarship for academic achievement at New Jersey City University.
She lives and works in Historic Downtown Jersey City, and is expected to graduate from NJCU in May of 2014 with a BFA in Art with a concentration in Graphic Design.
On October 16, Rutgers TV broadcast a story about the work in Wake Up Rutgers’ Paint the Town Scarlet with Jackie Kelly. To view the podcast, visit this link: http://rutv.rutgers.edu/programming-channels/wake-rutgers
For more information, contact CLAC at (848) 932-1284.