Liberty and Justice for all!

Wonderland Ex- Press

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA (Sept. 26 – Dec. 30, 2018), and the Cotuit Center for the Arts in Cotuit, MA (March 2 – April 20, 2019) for quickly stepping in to host my exhibit after it was abruptly cancelled at another venue due to its political content. Both organizations reached out early to express their interest and put their full support behind my project.

Today, I will talk about my experience with the New England Quilt Museum. When their curator Pam Weeks and director Nora Burchfield called to inquire about hosting my exhibit, I was feeling sad and unsure of my show’s future prospects. But by the end of our laugh-filled conversation, we had come up with a plan. They decided to revise their exhibition schedule to accommodate the Liberty and Justice show and over the next few days, we worked out the logistics, even expanding the show to include some of my earlier work, as a basis of comparison with what I’m doing now. I learned that the museum had recently taken the bold step of being the premiere venue for the Threads of Resistance traveling exhibit, which came about in reaction to the presidential election. Nora Burchfield says, “We are no strangers to controversy here. It comes with running a museum that serves as a mouthpiece for women’s voices.”

Movie still from “Liberty and Justice: A Cautionary Tale in the Land of the Free”

My show, which opened last week, has gotten a lot of press attention due to the controversy surrounding it and the museum is expecting many visitors, from both the local Boston area and out of town. It will be on display until the end of the year and I hope that some you from near and far can fit a trip to Lowell into your schedule. To watch my interview about the exhibit on WGBH TV’s Open Studio, click here.

Liberty and Justice: The Satirical Art of Salley Mavor
New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA
Sept. 26 – Dec. 30, 2018
Artist Talk – “Sweet to Satirical”, Sat., Nov. 17 at 1:00 PM

Artist Statement:
Almost immediately after the 2016 election, I started imagining ironic scenarios with new dolls that resembled famous political figures. Creating the characters and “playing doll house” was a cathartic experience where I felt in control, even as chaos ensued nationally. The works in this exhibit include a selection of photographs from the WEE FOLK PLAYERS series from 2017.  There is also a 14 minute stop-motion animated film, Liberty and Justice: A Cautionary Tale in the Land of the Free.

Original dolls and props from both the film and the Wee Folk Players series are on display in a glass case. And you can see the doll house I made over 40 years ago, that served as a stage set for the Wee Folk Players.

NEW ADDITIONS – the museum has expanded the original exhibit to include a gallery full of sculptural embroideries that represent the mid-period of my career, when the bulk of my work reflected a bucolic and comforting existence. This collection, from what I call “the innocent years”, serves as a contrast to my recent foray into political satire, illustrating my evolution as an artist.

The exhibit occupies 2 galleries and a hallway in between and includes the following:

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15 thoughts on “Liberty and Justice for all!

  1. Salley, I am thrilled the New England Quilt Museum and the Cotuit Center for the Arts will both be hosting your wonderful Liberty and Justice exhibit. I would love to travel to MA. and see it. If there is a way, I will be there!
    I’m glad your “innocent years” will be represented, too. What an evolution!

  2. Your work has been transitioning to this for awhile. The “Cover Up” piece and especially the refugee piece are also social commentary. Glad your work found not one but two venues. I wish itt would travel all over the US. It needs to be seen.

  3. Salley, I hope you are able to give a heads-up on the date for your artists talk. A friend and I want to be there and it’s a bit of a drive….but totally worth it!

  4. Bless the New England Quilt Museum for being willing to risk all to keep their voice clear, true and reflective of the climate in the country regarding the political situation. I love the fact that they expanded the show to include representative works so that attendees can trace your personal growth through your actual work and not just experience your newer work in isolation. Most of all, I laud their willingness to give one courageous woman a voice by providing a welcoming venue and showcase.

  5. I am so glad that your exhibit found it’s way to be shown. We won’t be silenced! I love all you do and to me America has always been about expressing your opinions! Keep up the good fight and Bravo to you and your art Salley!

  6. The fact that your work was considered controversial shows us we haven’t come very far when dissent in any manner or standing up for or highlighting non-“majority” issues is still met with acts of suppression or exclusion. It’s so incredibly sad. But I’m glad your work found a place.


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