Artist: Amy Duran
Exhibition: forever by your side
Media: Ceramics, Sticks, Grass, Velvet
Gallery: CSULB School of Art Gallery
About The Artist
Amy Duran is a senior at California State University, Long Beach currently enrolled in the university’s BFA in ceramics. She has been extremely interested in art her entire life and was very artistic throughout her childhood. This exhibition is very similar to the rest of her work, which is all about discovering herself. As for the future, Amy wants to be a decorator and make props for movies.
Duran’s exhibition is called forever by your side about her growing up or “coming out of age” as she describes it. This exhibition features a fairytale of how she grew up, telling a story of a girl (her) and her journey meeting animals (the society) in 5 different chapters. The story is showing every chapter in different “windows” through ceramic dolls and a book next to the objects, reading it as a fairytale, but with its own remix. Each chapter starts with a book and the plot for that window. Each window is covered by a different color of texture, the girl and whomever she meets and a stick that makes the girl spin around to gain interaction with the audience. The objects are ceramic painted in different color and other materials that fill up space such as grass, fog, and trees. Each chapter has a different background that is painted by the artist herself, mostly showing forests that often are displayed in fairytales.
The exhibition is about growing up and always feeling like an outsider. It’s her coming out of age story, featuring Amy discovering her sexuality and herself. Her brother told us that it’s about holding on to past memories and that the girl in the exhibition is supposed to be her, and that the animals are creations of the pets she had throughout her life. She states in her artist statement that the exhibition about her personal struggles and how it is growing up with anxiety and forgetting her “inner child”, but at the same time wanting to be an empowering woman who is free. She wanted to tell people that it’s okay to be sad and it’s okay to not be sure about where you are in your life, but that the things we experience and the things we learn are always going to be a part of us and shape us into the person we are today.
Another aspect of her exhibition is that she wanted to embrace feminity and showing us the true strength and independence that women can have. She showed this through the contrast of ideas with empowering through sexual exploration. She believes that one’s true self is shown to you as a child because you weren’t afraid to say what you felt and you were not manipulated by the media and the society at that age.
As we can see here, she opens up her fairytale with a story about a girl (herself) who is afraid of the society by not being able to be herself and that she was alone in the world with the thoughts that she had. She later explains how the girl is running away from her problems to the animals (which are supposed to be her pets) because she finds comfort in them because of their non-human perspective.
Personally, this was one of my favorite exhibitions so far that I’ve seen. Mostly because I can relate so strongly to the artist, but also because I loved how she told her life story through a traditional fairytale, but with a very remixed version. Like Amy, I also felt different and had a tough time growing up. I felt alone and had anxiety, which made me afraid to be who I am and say what I wanted to say. In addition to the general struggle of growing up, I also had a difficult time finding myself, exploring my sexual orientation and feeling less powerful because I am a woman. We love nothing more than to meet people with the same values and mindset as us, and that’s what I felt I did with this exhibition. Lastly, I’m also a huge believer in that everything you go through – good or bad, is a part of shaping who you are and I wouldn’t change anything if I could.