Divisive rhetoric has reverberated in our current political climate, and empathy has proven to be a challenging sentiment for many Americans to conjure. This exhibition features artists who reveal a capacity for empathy, a willingness to reflect on another's perspective or to understand those whose backgrounds differ from their own. Rather than propose empathy as a solution for today's societal ills, this exhibition also acknowledges the limitations of "walking in other people's shoes." To empathize, in this case, is to look at someone else's belief systems in relation to one’s own worldview, to better comprehend why we believe what we believe, while recognizing that no one can ever truly perceive someone else's struggle. Through an attempt to appreciate another’s experiences and values across social, political, and cultural divides, progress can be made toward finding common ground and fostering an environment of mutual respect.
Among the participants is ACC alumnus Bundith Phunsombatlert's Sunny Garden in Blue: Stories from the Caribbean to Brooklyn. This ongoing project collects the stories of senior immigrants from Caribbean countries (such as Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, and Jamaica) who are now Brooklyn residents. The project is in the form of an artist’s book; the symbolic use of flowers and plants in images shows the seniors’ journeys and lives.
Sunny Garden in Blue: The Stories from the Caribbean to Brooklyn builds upon the workshop series and public exhibition through the 2018 Brooklyn Arts Council’s (BAC) SU-CASA program--a program that places artists in residence at senior centers across the city.