Five papier-mache mannequins – four women and one schoolgirl, with cloth gags tied around their mouths – sit on dining chairs at the entrance to the FAT Village Projects warehouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale. On the far end of the row of chairs sits a sixth female mannequin, her mouth ungagged and open, angry and defiant. The placard beneath her chair identifies the mannequin as “Ashley P.,” age 15, with a quote that reads, “I went with my friends to a party and I admit I did try alcohol. I don’t know who my rapists were. I only have flashes of rolled-up socks in my mouth.”
Called “Stand Up Speak Out,” artist Mary Catello’s installation of custom-built mannequins is the first striking image to greet visitors at the entrance to “Ripped From the Headlines,” an intensely political art show opening Friday, April 26, at FAT Village.
For Catello, a Palm Beach Gardens artist, the six-month papier-mache project felt necessary and vital given the rash of sexual-abuse headlines in the media: #MeToo accusations, the Brett Kavanaugh hearings last fall, convicted doctor Larry Nasser’s abuse of young gymnasts.
“I had personal experience with sexual abuse as a teenager, but unlike her,” Catello says, pointing to Ashley P.’s open mouth, “I didn’t speak out.”
“Ripped From the Headlines” unites 19 Broward and Palm Beach county artists who have created artworks responding to news coverage of immigration and President Trump, child abuse and anti-Semitism, climate change and gun violence. The lead artist in this show: Parkland activist Manuel Oliver, who will be creating a mural of his slain son, Joaquin, during the 6-10 p.m. FAT Village Art Walk on Saturday, April 27.
These artworks are designed to provoke powerful emotions about hot-button issues, says curator Elle Schorr, a photographer and part-time instructor at Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach.
“I’m very intrigued by activist art, and it feels important especially these days,” says Schorr, a self-proclaimed “news junkie.” “I’m not looking to stir up controversy [with this art show], but I think it will happen, anyway.”
The group-art show, closing June 29, also will host receptions 6-10 p.m. on May 25 and June 29, coinciding with the monthly FAT Village Art Walk. A curator-led walk-through will take place 3:30-5:30 p.m. Sunday, June 9.
“Ripped From the Headlines” will open with a reception 6-9 p.m. Friday, April 26, at FAT Village Projects, 523 NW First Ave., in Fort Lauderdale. The exhibit will close on June 29. Admission is free. Go to RippedFromtheHeadlines.Art or FATVillageProjects.com.
Below, here are a few photo highlights from “Ripped From the Headlines.”