Last night, I attended the First Friday event at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston. As I walked in the door, I was greeted by the booming music and dimmed lights. I felt like I should feel posh, not only because of the atmosphere but also because I was dressed up in heels, a sparkly top, jewelry, and makeup (I rarely wear makeup). The thing is though, I’m not posh. I’m a down-to-earth, coupon clipping homebody who generally prefers the company of animals to most people. Now it would have been easy to have felt small compared to the other posh First Friday goers, but I didn’t, and I never will feel inferior because of who I am.
See, in the ICA there is an exhibit called “WITNESS” featuring the work of artist LaToya Ruby Frazier. The exhibit displays works that bring to light the gritty side of society that is often featured in art, a side that few viewers can ever actually fully understand and relate to. Looking at Frazier’s pieces, I was not only impressed with her work, but her work impressed upon me, reminding me of people and places and home lives I am very familiar with. And it’s that familiarity that helps me be aware of the realities of the world, to know that the images are not just images but life. Organic, living life that once you experience it becomes a part of you and follows you, whether you’re wearing heels or sneakers.