The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art is proud to present a solo exhibition by Jennifer Wen Ma, entitled Cry Joy Park—Gardens of Dark and Light.
Cry Joy Park—Gardens of Dark and Light is an investigation into the construct of a utopia, inspired by the history of Charleston, South Carolina: a cultural and artistic capital of the American South, and an exemplar of its opulence and beauty. This installation aims to present both an alluring, gorgeous and otherworldly garden, and its darker counterpart. The worlds created by the exhibition are a juxtaposition of utopia and dystopia and are presented via an immersive multisensory experience that utilizes various forms of communication to convey its message.
The installation will feature two separate gardens: a Dark one and a Light one, both representing a yin/yang balance between utopias and dystopias. Her exhibition will also feature collaborations with the School of the Arts at the College of Charleston, which will take the form of interdisciplinary performances by students in the visual arts, theatre, dance, music, creative writing, and more. Ma is also planning a series of community dinners that will serve as platforms to discuss specific issues facing Charleston, such as social justice and gentrification.
At 6:30PM, Ma and collaborators will be performing a ritual honoring spirituality and the passage of life and death. A host of religions have played important roles in Charleston’s history. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and African spirituality have all been great sources of strength and support for the people of Charleston, but they have also been pacifying forces against change. In the Garden where the Flower Portal presides between the Dark and the Light, religious rites are channeled in guiding the people through this most important passage from life to death.
OPENING RECEPTION | Jennifer Wen Ma: Cry Joy Park—Gardens of Dark and Light