ShowUp Unveils Extra Featuring Artists Rixy, Ja’Hari Ortega, and Wavy Wednesday

ShowUp Unveils Extra Featuring Artists Rixy, Ja’Hari Ortega, and Wavy Wednesday

BOSTON, Feb. 28, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — ShowUp is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition, Extra, running from March 1 to April 28, 2024. Extra features the work of Rixy, Ja’Hari Ortega, and Wavy Wednesday. The exhibition is inspired by the descriptor within Black and Brown communities describing something or someone as excessive, out-of-the-box, or ‘doing too much’ which is a coded, negative connotation for defying the mainstream. To quote Melissa Harris-Perry, “Shamed for being fast, womanly, or too damn grown, Black girls are encouraged to stop doing so much or being extra.”1 Instead, watch these girl bosses reclaim the beauty in their flyness, outspokenness, too muchery, bling, boundless imagination, and refusal to dim their shine.

The artists respond by unleashing their full creative potential. The illustrative style and community-based background of street artist Rixy works to dismantle machismo and societal conventions through her unapologetic depictions of lush figures and her clever use of gender performance histories. Ja’Hari Ortega’s compelling sculptural works and installation reinforce the exhibition’s themes of adornment and self-expression. Wavy Wednesday’s pop-art style denounces racism through satire and allusions to consumerism. She said to a WESA reporter, “Being a Black woman is feeling like you’re automatically placed on the outside.” What would it look like if we were no longer entangled in these enclosures, we could have a space to just BE, unapologetically? It cultivates what being at the center really feels like.

Join the artists and Curator Chenoa Baker on March 1st from 5 to 8 pm for an opening reception. Refer to ShowUp’s website for subsequent events. 

About the Artists

Rixy (she/her) is an interdisciplinary Latine Caribbean street artist from Roxbury, Massachusetts. Primarily self-taught, she received her BFA at UMass Boston in 2019. Her distinctive murals can be found both street-wide and on institutional walls, from her base in New England to Latin America. Recently, she introduced her solo exhibition Enter the Cúcala, a collection of new works reflecting the background of its femme inhabitants and their raw upbringings. This series was exhibited at the Trustman Gallery of Simmons University, Laisun Keane Gallery, and Woman Made Gallery in Chicago. Meditations on this series have inspired and influenced her positions in teaching, programming, & social justice. Rixy attended TheCreateWell’s Converging Liberations Residency at Mass MoCA, a Ruth Butler Fellowship in Mexico, was commissioned by the City of Boston as a Transformative Public Art Muralist, completed her Now+There’s Accelerator Public Artist Project, and is currently the Artist-in-Residence at Elevated Thought. Rixy was also named a 2023 Maker by WBUR.

Ja’Hari Ortega (She/Her), a Boston-based artist, educator, and advocate, depicts a vernacular language in a style that captures the pulse of her city. She is a multidisciplinary artist who is primarily drawn to bronze casting, jewelry making, and performance. Having attended Boston’s only public high school for the visual and performing arts, Boston Academy for the Arts, as well as the nation’s first and only public independent college of art and design, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Ortega is a leader in her community. She was a panelist for Boston’s Radical Imagination for Racial Justice which invites Boston-based artists and creatives of color to imagine and co-create justice with their communities, is working on an ambitious public art commission for the Rose Kennedy Greenway, and her work is in public and private collections.

Wavy Wednesday (She/Her) Kamara Townes, known professionally as Wavy Wednesday, is an artist, muralist and activist based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her work highlights the more playful aspects of her experiences as a Black feminist artist and incorporates elements of pop culture, street art, and Afrofuturism to confront and comment on social, racial, and gender justice. Her multidisciplinary practice, which encompasses painting, sculpture, murals, and installations have been celebrated and featured in several public art projects in the city of Pittsburgh, published in Brian Burley’s “YNGBLKPGH,” and shared widely on popular social media sites including Afropunk and Supermarket Magazine. Townes received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from California University of Pennsylvania and is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree with a focus in painting at West Virginia University.

About Curator Chenoa Baker

Chenoa Baker (she/her) is a curator, wordsmith, and descendant of self-emancipators. She was the Associate Curator of ShowUp and through other roles, worked on Gio Swaby: Fresh Up at the Peabody Essex Museum, Simone Leigh at ICA/Boston, and Touching Roots: Black Ancestral Legacies in the Americas at MFA/Boston. She teaches curatorial practice at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. In 2023, she won the Association Internationale des Critiques d’Art (AICA) Young Art Critics Prize. Her writing appears in Hyperallergic, Public Parking, Material Intelligence, Studio Potter, Boston Art Review, and Sixty Inches From Center.

About ShowUp

ShowUp is a groundbreaking contemporary art exhibition, education, and community-building space, creating an innovative environment for underrepresented artists’ voices and visions. 

Its mission is to

CONNECT artists to local communities and beyond

AMPLIFY artists and their voices 

PROVIDE artists tools for self-sufficiency 

EMPOWER artists and curators to experiment, learn, and have meaningful exchanges

Learn more on ShowUp’s website and Instagram.

1 Candice Benbow, Red Lip Theology: For Church Girls Who’ve Considered Tithing to the Beauty Supply Store When Sunday Morning Isn’t Enough. The Crown Publishing Group: New York. Melissa Harris-Perry, “Foreword.” VII.

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