ENIGMA: Reactions to Racism


On View February 5 - May 17, 2019


At the core of resilience is endurance; the ability to push forward despite pain. Since the beginning of America’s history people of color have been expected to endure. Between the whispers of the civil rights movement and the glaring social justice issues revisited in the post Obama era, there’s been a societal obsession with having conversations about racism. While the actions that arise from these conversations has been hard to track and measure, they continue to persist. One of the nuances of these conversations is the recurring focus on white intentions, pain, and confusion over their impact on people of color holding the same space. Racism can equally be awkward, perplexing, and ironic for all parties involved. ENIGMA uses mixed media installations of portraits, abstraction, and interviews to unveil some of the nuances of these experiences from the perspective of Black Millennials in Boston.

Thervil points us to Dismantling Racism Works and their web-based workbook for anti-racist resources.

Alongside her exhibition, ENIGMA, Thervil will teach a 3 month youth artist project, The Promise of Tomorrow, a mixed media installation that embodies the youth artists' vision of what they need to make the future better for the communities they are a part of now and hope to build tomorrow.


About the Artist:

Chanel Thervil is a Haitian American artist and educator obsessed with all things art, community, and history. More recently, Thervil’s art practice has taken the form of large scale installations, public art and mixed media portraits that grapple with the intersections of community and individual identity. Visually she represents this by creating a controlled chaos via the playful juxtaposition of various textures, colors, abstractions and representational forms. The collection and creation of a wide range of materials for her end products complement the tension and harmony that comes from the desire to have a voice as an individual while also seeking context in a common narrative. Thervil’s training as an educator is a rich subtext of her practice, most visible in the warm interactive and placemaking components that engage viewers to inquire and reflect upon their own experiences to find personal meaning within the artwork.

Some of the institutions she’s had artful collaborations with include the Center for Art & Community Partnerships, the Boston Center for the Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Lesley University, Harvard University, New England Bio Labs, and the Boston Public Health Commission. In addition to her community-based work as an artist, she currently serves as the Program Manager at The Art Connection, a non-profit that provides arts access to underserved communities via curation and donation of original works of art.

Check out more of Thervil’s work at www.chanelthervil.com

Press Features

The Boston Globe

Broadway World

WBUR Feb. 12, 2019

WBUR Feb. 19, 2019

Bay State Banner

BU News

Artists on Art Magazine