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Star Tribune features ‘Liberatory Adornment’ art exhibition at St. Olaf

A recent Star Tribune feature by visual arts critic and reporter Alicia Eler highlighted the debut of Liberatory Adornment, an exhibition running at St. Olaf College’s Flaten Art Museum through January 23. 

Kenya (Robinson) attended the exhibition's opening event.
Kenya (Robinson) attended the exhibition’s opening event.

Eler visited St. Olaf for the exhibition’s November 5 opening events, which featured curator Jillian Hernandez, artist Kenya (Robinson), and St. Olaf faculty members Arneshia Williams and Tesfa Wondemagegnehu. The exhibition, which also includes works by artists Pamela Council and Yvette Mayorga, explores the ways in which beauty and personal care rituals and materials can be mobilized as tools of freedom, power, and opportunity by and for Black and Latinx people. 

“Throughout the exhibition, there’s a joyfulness to design and the reclaiming of craft, which is often devalued as ‘women’s work,’” Eler writes, pointing to works like Mayorga’s “Protest Fingers,” a piece featuring hands with spiky, colorful painted fingernails that greets visitors at the entrance.

Yvette Mayorga

The exhibition’s opening events included a video premiere of Kenya (Robinson)’s BLACK OF ENTITLEMENT and a roundtable discussion with the artists, curator, and St. Olaf faculty members. While on campus, the artists also spent time with Black, Latinx, and queer students and members of several student organizations.