Mirrors

The Mirror Portraits Project was a temporary public art exhibition where teens and artists drew their self portraits with dry erase marker on public mirrors, leaving short poems and stories to live alongside them. Mirror Portraits were installed as a BLINK project of the Madison Arts Commission on August 12th and 13th, 2015 with additional support from Madison Public Library’s BUBBLER and the ArtWrite Collective.

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Self portraits and the accompanying stories were intended to offer a glimpse into the lives of our neighbors. For LGBTQIA+ folks, people of color, immigrants, and women, displacement is a persistent experience. Because our community has averted its collective gaze long enough, particular experiences and people are either made invisible or are subject to over exposure on a regular basis. In the mirrors project, participating artists had control of their image, their narrative, and the stories they chose to share with strangers. While more than a few artist-participants shared their experiences with housing insecurity or homelessness, this crew of artists came to the project with vastly different life stories and motivations for participating. How might seeing your own reflection in the work have implicated you in our stories?

While I coordinated this project, it wouldn’t have been possible without the collaboration of artists Tawania Alston, Kabuki, Sisa Poemape, Marcelle Richards, Karena Ware, Sofia Ware, with behind-the-scenes support by Molly Leimontas.

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