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No More Violence Opens at Gallery5

June’s First Friday at Gallery 5 brought together No More Violence, a powerful art exhibition combating sexual violence, and a stellar line-up of music including Womajich Dialysiez, Mouth Council, The Smirks and Bad Magic.

No More Violence, organized by Richmond artist Malena Magnolia, combines elements of art therapy and art activism to give a voice to survivors of abuse. The project’s first iteration took place in Charlottesville in 2015, where members of the community participated in artist workshops and safe space discussions about recent controversies surrounding academic institutions’ handling of sexual assault cases.

In the weeks leading up to the June 2017 opening at Gallery 5, Magnolia conducted workshops on screen-printing and mud-stenciling – a form of ephemeral, eco-friendly street art. Art therapist Carol Olson also facilitated a workshop, inviting participants to create work in any medium. Local musician and photographer Sarmistha Talukdar contributed to the project with Take Your Power Back: Therapy Through Photography, a series of double-exposure portraits of survivors. The pieces made at the three workshops and Talukdar’s photographs form the body of work on display in the exhibition.

Magnolia and Talukdar are also members of the improvisational collective Womajich Dialyseiz, which invited people who had never played with the group before to collaborate in an improvisation for healing starting off the music for the evening. Percussion, guitar, synthesizer, and several vocalists formed a cathartic wall of sound while performance artist Lotus took to the floor in front of the stage, responding to the energy created by the musicians and audience.

Next up was Mouth Council from St. Petersburg Florida, whose interactive approach fit right in with the collaborative and inclusive themes of the show. The performance is led by Billy Mays III beginning with a vocal loop that is transformed as a microphone is passed to anyone who wishes to add to the layers of sound while Mays processes and mixes.

The Smirk’s fuzzed-out garage punk kept the high-energy of the previous performances going strong. With catchy songs like “Sway”, their tight, fast-paced set earned a lively response from the crowd.

The night ended with trio Bad Magic playing songs from their album Harsh Surrender released earlier this year. Always a highlight of their sets, “Haunt You” is a dynamic song with an ethereal intro that puts Julie Karr’s compelling voice front and center.

Check out photos from the show by Jake Mayday and Craig Zirpolo below:

No More Violence
Photos by Craig Zirpolo

Womajich Dialysiez
Photos by Jake Mayday

Mouth Council
Photos by Jake Mayday

The Smirks
Photos by Jake Mayday

Bad Magic
Photos by Craig Zirpolo