Shenequa A. Brooks and Daiana Oneto were two artists who immediately came to mind when planning the upcoming YWAs: Young Woman Artists Exhibition with my friend Meredith Moore at Wonder Fair. Brooks is a recent graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute whose senior show generated a lot of positive buzz. Oneto will be a senior at KCAI this fall. She took my art history course on Dada and Surrealism a couple of years ago, and I have enjoyed seeing the progression of her work in the Printmaking Department ever since. When I approached each of them about doing a studio visit, I had no idea that they were roommates!
Brooks and Oneto’s spacious apartment in the artsy neighborhood of Kansas City is filled with their work, and although their styles are distinct, it is easy to see that they motivate and energize each other. This is exactly the spirit of collaboration and mentorship we wanted to promote through the YWAs Show.
Shenequa A. Brooks is a fiber artist who weaves synthetic human hair in her works. On her web site, she explains, “I am designing and creating a body of work using braiding hair as a way to communicate with my sisters how intimate, powerful, celebratory, and socially pleasing getting one’s hair done can be.” Currently, she is in Ghana, studying traditional weaving techniques as a recipient of the Windgate Travel Fellowship. This summer she will also study contemporary African-American hairstyling at the Bronner Bros. International Hair Show and Madame CJ Walker Museum in Atlanta, Georgia. We are thrilled to have her work Squa-Plaits in our YWAs show. I have promised her to take lots and lots of pictures at the opening reception tomorrow night.
Daiana Oneto is a printmaking and art history double major who “explores ideas of physical and psychological strain on the human body and the relationship between the body and the earth.” She is spending her summer investigating traditional printmaking techniques as an intern at Landfall Press in New Mexico. Her Body as Landscape series is reminiscent of Surrealist techniques for political expression. Motivated by memories of insecurity and violence during her childhood in Argentina, she uses contorted bodies as a metaphor for oppression. Faceless and bound to the earth, her figures express feelings of uncertainty and dread. We are also excited to have Daiana’s lithograph in our show. The delicate layers of color must be experienced in person; they really draw the viewer in.
Brooks and Oneto are only two of sixteen artists exploring culture and history in the YWAs: Young Woman Artists exhibition. The opening reception is tomorrow night, Friday, June 27 from 6:00 to 10:00 pm. The show runs through August 24.