Spoke Gallery is proud to present a solo exhibition by Johnetta Tinker entitled, Pray to Find Refuge. This is not the first time Spoke Gallery has had the honor to show her work. Johnetta participated in a 2015 Spoke Gallery group show entitled, Mapping: The Dorchesterway- Part One, that also featured the work of Judy Bassard Brown, Leah Craig, Masako Kamiya, Destiny Palmer, Larry Pierce, Joanna Tam, the late Joseph Wheelwright, and Thomas Willis.
For her 2024 Spoke Gallery solo exhibition, Johnetta is showing 11 works. The earliest work was completed in 2008 and the most recent work was completed in January 2024. Ten of the eleven works are monoprint collages and all of the works are in response to historical and contemporary immigration and/or human trafficking issues. Two of the works address the current immigration issues impacting the Caribbean island of Hispaniola that is shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic*. This is the first time all of these artworks have been shown in Massachusetts and for the majority of the works on view, it is the first time they have been shown publicly.
Her exhibition statement shares more insight into her compelling body of work on exhibit:
“Pray to Find Refuge is the title of a series of works in response to the current immigration issues. The series starts with focusing on historical context of African ancestors who were brought to the United States through forced immigration, slavery, in such works as “To Thy Ancestors” and “From Thy Ancestors”. The series takes a deeper look into everything that is scared about one’s cultural heritage lost in time such as, “Vanished Past” and the impact it has on our existence today. Fast forward to present times, the immigration issue has a whole new set of challenges. Witnessing those who are seeking to secure better life opportunities and are willing to take the dangerous arduous journey no matter the safety risk is shown in works such as “Perilous Journey” and “Arriving on a Nightmare”. Chronicling the human immigration experience is a daunting task, the series of works are created not to make judgement on either side of the issue but to provoke discussions of what the images convey and how to proceed from here.”
About Johnetta Tinker
Johnetta Tinker is a Boston-based artist and her work has been shown in numerous art exhibits and traveling art exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad. Recent exhibitions include: 2023 Group show at Rebirth Art Gallery, Durban, South Africa; 2023 Group Show at University Museum at Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas; 2022 One person show at the John Moakley Courthouse Gallery, Boston, MA; One person show Northeastern Crossing City and Community Affair, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 2018 – 2019; and a 2017 one person show at the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, Boston, MA.
She has painted murals in Houston, TX and Boston MA and most recently in 2021 via the Mentoring Murals program with Now+There in partnership with Greater Grove Hall Main Streets. Johnetta has participated in several artist-in-residency and art exchange programs including the Indian Arts Institute Museum (Santa Fe, NM), the Massachusetts Guangdong China Art Exchange, and Artpark (Lewiston NY). In 2020, she was a recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship in Drawing & Printmaking.
Johnetta holds a Bachelor of Art Education degree from Texas Southern University (Houston, TX) and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Art Education from Boston University (Boston, MA). She has also lectured on art with special attention to Ancient Nubia and to the master artist John Biggers with whom she studied.
*The Dominican Republic Government is abruptly and forcibly deporting many Haitian migrants- many of whom have lived in the DR for years; One source: October 6, 2023, NY Times, Stateless Dominicans Live in Fear of Deportation https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/06/world/americas/haiti-dominican-republic-deportation.html
About Spoke Gallery:
The medicine wheel, originating from a Native American tradition, is also referred to as Sacred Hoop. The medicine wheel represents the sacred circle of life, its basic four directions, and the elements. It is a symbol of balance, symmetry, healing, and oneness. “It teaches us that all lessons are equal, as are all talents and abilities. Every living creature will one day see and experience each spoke of the wheel and know those truths. The Medicine Wheel is a pathway to truth and peace and harmony. The circle is never ending, life without end.”
MWP’s philosophy and values are deeply entwined with that of the medicine wheel. We too believe that every person has talents and abilities to share with the world and that, through art, they can unlock them. By participating in the art—whether that’s creating the art, experiencing the art, or taking a cultural action in response to the art—we believe that community members are taken on a transformative journey that helps them gain a deeper understanding of themselves, of others, and the overall human condition. This is the phenomenon of art. It engages all people (the creator and observors) in dialogue and takes them to a place of endless possibilities.
Artists of all disciplines are interested in starting a new dialogue about the role of art in culture. Over the years, art has come to be seen as a commodity, not an essential part of everyday life. Art is so much more than that though—it helps individuals access the hidden world of thought, feeling, and meditation. It is a tool that draws humanity together, guiding people towards a greater understanding of self and the overall human condition.
MWP’s Spoke Gallery is an innovative new program that seeks to act as a hub for artists of all disciplines who want to join the conversation. We realize that many artists lack the networks, support, tools, and/or resources to progress the dialogue forward on their own. By creating a network and space dedicated to redefining the role of art in culture, we hope to provide a support system and home for artists, so that they can grow, learn, and put into practice this exciting and significant concept.
This program is supported in part by a grant from the Boston Cultural Council, a local agency which is funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, administrated by the Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism, and Special Events. It is also supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.