Meet Our Artists Part Five
Every week until the big night, we will be featuring a small group of artists creating pieces for the 2020 Chair Affair. This year we are working with 20 local artists selected by our Guest Curator who all work with different mediums, have diverse styles, and bring a new perspectives through their artwork. This week we are featuring Rashidah Salam, Lisa Kelley, and Lawren Alice.
Rashidah Salam was born and raised in Malaysia but now resides in Philadelphia, where she teaches at Drexel University and Jefferson University. She dedicates her success in her art career to her roots, upbringing, culture, tradition, and the influence of her surroundings. Rashidah's earliest exposure in thinking creatively was through beautiful, local handicrafts and learning about the different processes to create the pieces. To further her interest in the visual arts, Rashidah went to art school for her undergraduate degree and went on to learn more about western art, painting and world art history in her master's degree.
Rashidah is currently represented and a member of Muse Gallery and a member of MamaCITA, an award-winning Cooperative in the Arts that provides its members a collective voice within the art world. All members are both professional artists and mothers. Recently, she was also commissioned to paint a mural in the old city of Philadelphia by the Mural Arts Program of Philadelphia and Interfaith Philadelphia.
She was awarded Emerging Artist award for the Young Contemporary Artist Award, all artists under 30 years old in Malaysia. Rashidah was also awarded for another Emerging Artist, Richard Nixon Memorial Award, 77th Annual CCA Members Show at Cheltenham Center for the Arts. At CCA, she also won two awards from the same center for all three years in a row. Rashidah has participated in local and international art exhibits and have won a few major awards in art competitions and residencies.
Lisa Kelley is a teaching artist at the Kensington Storefront and Prevention Point - both of which serve people impacted by addiction and homelessness in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. She also co-facilitates weekly art workshops at Kirkbride Center - a behavioral health facility that provides addiction services.
Using art to create social change has always been an interest of Lisa’s, and when Mural Arts of Philadelphia opened the Kensington Storefront in early 2016, she and her colleague, Kathryn Pannepacker, proposed a workshop series called Tuesday Tea & Textiles (T3). T3 started off as a 10-week pilot and quickly became the Storefront’s most consistent, longest-running workshop. They have been teaching there ever since. Lisa and Kathryn, along with their team of friends, have created a sanctuary studio at the Kensington Storefront and have built a community where everyone is welcome and becomes part of a loving, compassionate community.
She is the founder of Epidemic, is a series of weavings thematically connected by the struggles, the despair, and the stories of hope surrounding addiction. Each weaving is created with strips of fabric on which people affected by addiction write a wish, a prayer, a dream, a memory. The messages of love and loss are knotted and woven together, then threaded onto and suspended from sticks found in parks in Kensington, which is where she was born and raised and also where she practices art as harm reduction. The project is a story about bearing witness, of gaining empathy and compassion, of taking action and reaching beyond the personal to affect change in her community.
All the work Lisa does surrounding addiction is personal. Her foster son, Artie, is the inspiration behind the work.
Artist & muralist Lawren Alice is best known for creating vibrant, freehand, flourish pattern designs that are slowly taking over both private and public wall space in her home city of Philadelphia. Finding inspiration in color palettes painted on Pakistani art trucks, composition elements found in Norwegian rosemaling, and drippy background layers present in aerosol and graffiti work, Alice’s free-flow style perfectly couples traditional decorative arts with a fresh modern twist that feels both refreshing and balanced. Outside of painting, Alice spends her daylight hours as the Curator and Co-founder of Arch Enemy Arts, an established, New Contemporary art gallery and boutique.