Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Opening Reception for Elliot Lloyd's "GHETTO GIRLS"

Thursday, March, 22nd 2007 from 6pm to 9 pm
Y Gallery
32-70 85th Street (corner with Northern Blvd)
Jackson Heights, Queens, NY 11370

Y Gallery is pleased to present “Ghetto Girls,” by Elliott Lloyd. Consisting of one hundred twenty-five sketched portraits of youngsters he worked with in New York City between the years 1990 to 1993, the show provides both a glimpse into a social “nether world” and visual evidence to shatter barriers.

This tension is reflected in the controversial title "Ghetto Girls." The exhibition itself forces us to reexamine our notions of the word "ghetto" and reflect on what it means to us individually and culturally. The youngsters, mainly teenagers, were cared for by the City in a congregate home, where they were sheltered after the shattering of their birth families. They shared their lives under one roof.
These congregate homes since have been closed, without notice. Perhaps their disappearance fits the literal meaning of the word ghetto, since, politely, one does not notice the nether world.

The girls ranged from age fourteen to nineteen, some even younger. The artist simply aimed to make them feel beautiful and special. He included requests by each youngster as to hair placement and style, or jewelry to be portrayed, in order to portray her as she wanted herself seen. Each also received as many copies as wanted. Elegant gilded hardwood frames complete the onlookers’ rapport with the same purpose of putting the “best” foot forward, in the presentation at the Y Gallery. The onlooker relates to the portraits, so that the beauty of the young people portrayed contradicts the conditions of the portrayals’ initial setting.
According to Lloyd, the most profound expressions of the individuals seen became visible only when the girls were "…very quiet and introspective. In the time it took me to finish the drawing, I was able, I believe, to capture the elusive inner self which can only be shown when the mind is clear, or blank. In a way, when you are not thinking about anything, you're really thinking about everything."
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