Celebrating its 17th year, the Newark Arts Festival showcased the best of visual and performing arts over four days through all forms and mediums in every corner of the city, spotlighting Newark’s rich landscape of museums, galleries and pop-up venues.
These exhibits were just some of the many jaw-dropping art installations and displays that debuted over this past weekend, with a total of 80 participating venues, 500 participating artists and 150 open studios that came together to celebrate the long-standing and rich history of Newark Arts.
The Knockturnal: Tell us about the event?
Ericka Régine: / FEM’N’3D / is a thematic art series that utilizes unconventional spaces to personify the inner dialogue of the modern day woman with a culture relevant narrative. We launched our first show as part of Newark Arts Festival 2018 with / MY VAGINA GOT ME FCK’D UP / this past weekend with over 200 people in attendance to view the collaborative exhibit in Downtown Newark. The show was inclusive of a musical performance by vocalist Jennifer Denali that performed her single “PainKiller”. Special guests included: Whoopi Goldberg, BLK ID Twins, DJ Loca (103.9), Milah Mappo (Host of Good Moms Bad Choices Podcast), Chrismiss (Social Influencer) and Andre J (Fashion Icon).
The Knockturnal: How did you pick the artists?
Ericka Régine: Fem’n’3d is all about unifying female creatives from all walks of art to narrate one unified story. We worked with an Interior Designer (Bailey Li), a Fashion Designer (Erika Milele Hicks), a Visual Artist (Amarah Skye), a Tattoo (Ausette Sudan) artist and a stylist (Nichola Scott) to bring this show together. Like many passion projects you tend to first seek support from your network and so happens my tribe is FULL of female creatives so it felt natural to build a platform to showcase all of the raw talent they possess.
The Knockturnal: What do you hope people take away from the exhibition?
Ericka Régine: The name of course immediately grabs your attention- but this is way more than just loving your vagina, it’s about loving yourself. It’s an exhibit that is by woman for woman and has an empowering message that we hope creates open dialogue around issues we tend to shame ourselves as well as others on. In this time especially where politics is on crazy pills- it was important to create a safe place full of Fem-power to get everyone’s mind realigned.
The Knockturnal: What inspired you to get into art?
Amarah Skye: Having Whoopi as my grandmother definitely influenced me a lot to be creative, I used to want to act but I wasn’t that great at it. So I took art classes instead and found that I like doing that more. Also, my mom can draw and I used to try to mimic her drawings. I wanted to become an artist because I felt it was a great way to express myself therapeutically. There is fear in telling one’s personal journey and like most felt like I could never speak about it, so it came out in paintings and/or drawings. My emotions are what really inspires me to paint, whatever it is I’m going through and can’t communicate verbally I illustrate my feelings similar to writing in a diary. I’ve had a crazy past and the experiences I’ve had, those times are what inspires me the most.
The Knockturnal: What are your favorite mediums?
Amarah Skye: Acrylic paint, spray paint, and graffiti pens.
The Knockturnal: Are there any important mentors in your career?
Amarah Skye: My mom and my Granny are two of the strongest woman I know which allows me to be so unapologetic with my artistic expression, it’s a blessing to have such empowering woman in my corner.
The Knockturnal: Tell us about a few of the pieces on display
Amarah Skye: The pieces I have on display are a story of my vagina’s life cycle. On one end the collection ‘My Vagina Got Me FCK’d Up’ celebrates the love and joy of having one but also tells the story of the trials, tribulations, and heartache that come along with using her.
The Knockturnal: Tell us about the themes you’re exploring.
Amarah Skye: The themes I’m exploring are Love, heartbreak, conscience, and evolution.
The Knockturnal: Who are your favorite artists?
Amarah Skye: Patrick Martinez, Donny Miller, Retna, Jackson Pollack and Georgia O’keef
Photo Credits: Keith S. Miller Photography