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Autohistoria Works by Leeway Foundation Grantees & Awardees

Marta Sanchez Yaba Amgborale Blay & Noelle ThĂŠard

October 22 - November 21, 2011

About Leeway Support for individual artists is at the core of Leeway’s mission. The Foundation serves as an important resource for women and transgender artists who often struggle to find funding for their work and hopes to grow the way its resources support social change through supporting art and culture. Our grant programs, the Art and Change Grant and the Leeway Transformation Award, are open to women and transgender artists living in the Philadelphia region working in any medium of art, including traditional and non-traditional as well as multimedia and experimental forms. Creating change must be integral to the ideas, beliefs, and goals that are woven throughout the work and the process of creating and sharing the work. For more information please visit or call 215.545.4078.

contact information

Leeway Foundation The Philadelphia Building 1315 Walnut Street, Suite 832 Philadelphia, PA 19107 P 215.545.4078 | F 215.545.4021

About the Exhibit “AUTOHISTORIA: [is] A term coined by Gloria Anzaldua to describe women-of-color interventions into and transformations of traditional western autobiographical form. Deeply infused with the search for personal and cultural meaning, autohistoria is informed by reflective self-awareness employed in the service of social justice work. Autohistoria focuses on the personal life story but, as the autohistorian tells her own life story, she simultaneously tells the life stories of others.”

--The Gloria Anzaldua Reader

In partnership with Taller Puertorriqueño, Leeway presents Autohistoria, an exhibition of painting, photography and text by two artists who have received funding from Leeway—Marta Sanchez (LTA’10, ACG ’06, WOO’02) and Yaba Amgborale Blay (ACG’10)—and guest artist Noelle Théard. “We believe the artists participating in this show are part of the community of autohistorians Anzaldua describes,” says executive director Denise M. Brown. “These women claim a vision for social justice and create artistic and cultural interventions by sharing their personal stories alongside the stories of their families and communities. They are creating intimate hybrid narratives and engaging audiences in a dialogue about identity and place that reference our complicated histories and the vivid reality of our dreams. We hope you enjoy the show.” Autohistoria opens October 22, 2011 and closes November 21, 2011. Opening night features a special performance by Taína Asili (LTA ‘05) y la Banda Rebelde! Gallery Hours can be made by appointment by calling Taller Puertorriqueño at 215.426.3311. For sales information call Leeway at 215.545.4078 or email

Marta Sanchez (LTA’10, ACG ’06, WOO’02)

Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Chicana painter Marta Sanchez is deeply inspired by traditional Mexican folk art expressions. Sanchez is recognized primarily for her ex-voto /retablos formatted paintings, an offspring of traditional Mexican prayer paintings. These soulful works on metal capture the deepest held wishes and dreams of her subjects, as if the artist were lighting a candle in prayer for her subject. Her works on paper are mostly linocuts and monotypes that also follow the social and cultural traditions of Mexican and Chicano/a Art. Her work is in the collections of The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, The McNay Art Museum, The Fine Art Museum of St. Petersburg, Florida and The National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. Marta’s work is part of actor/director Cheech Marin’s extensive private collection of Chicano Art. She participated in “Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge” which traveled throughout the United States, touring from 2001 to 2006. This year Marta is also included in Marin’s new exhibition, ”Chicanitas/size does not matter,” featuring small works from his collection. Marta will also be participating in an international traveling exhibition titled “WE ARE YOU”, a five-year traveling exhibition reflecting the life of Latino/as in America. Marta’ s public art commissions can be seen in the Philadelphia area at Simons Recreation Center and The Children’s Hospital in Montgomery, Pennsylvania. Marta earned a MFA in Painting from the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, and a BFA in Painting from the University of Texas at Austin. She teaches at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, St. Joseph University and the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. She is the Co-founder for the grassroots organization “Cascarones Por La Vida” an organization that assist families affected by HIV/AIDS. Marta resides in Philadelphia with her husband John and son Phillip Ignacio.

“My first experience in appreciating and claiming art that validated my culture was Juan Sánchez Cotán’s still life, Quince, Cabbage, Melon and Cucumber, 1602. I painted it twenty-five or thirty years ago for my family and myself. I painted it before I knew of the many Latino/as who loved, created and had some uplifting stories to tell about my culture... This led to creating art as a young woman that had no limits and seeing the positive progress of the Chicano/a movement. As I grow older I look at many things differently. The still life studies change and morph into other thoughts about ripe fruit, feminism, and cultural promises of liberty... I see these painting as a Anzalduian conversation with Juan Sánchez Cotán, which is a personal one.”

list of works included & PrIce List Conversation with Sanchez Cotán/Still life-1, oil and enamel on tin, 8 x 12 in. (with frame), $800.00 Conversation with Sanchez Cotán/Still life-2, oil and enamel on tin, 8 x 12 in. (with frame), $800.00 Conversation with Sanchez Cotán/Still life-3, oil and enamel on tin, 8 x 12 in. (with frame), $800.00 Conversation with Sanchez Cotán/Still life-4, oil and enamel on tin, 8 x 12 in. (with frame), $800.00 Urban Still Life, mixed media, 23 x 19 in., $300.00 Heaven is Above Us, mixed media, 23 x 19 in., $300.00 Urban Garden, mixed media, 23 x 19 in., $300.00

Photo Credit: Mary Muniz

Yaba Amgborale Blay (ACG ‘10) & Noelle Théard

Dr. Yaba A. Blay is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at Lafayette College where she also teaches courses in Women’s & Gender Studies. She received a BA in Psychology (Cum Laude) from Salisbury State University, a M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from the University of New Orleans, an M.A. and Ph.D. in African American Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from Temple University. While her broader research interests are related to Africana cultural aesthetics and aesthetic practices, issues of gender in Africa and the Diaspora, and global Black popular culture, her specific research interests lie within the politics of embodiment and African/Black identities. Among her many publications, Blay’s ethnographic case study entitled “Pretty Color and Good Hair: Creole Women of New Orleans and the Politics of Identity” is featured in the Hampton Press anthology Blackberries and Redbones: Critical Articulations of Black Hair/Body Politics in Africana Communities (2011). She is currently editing her first book-length manuscript, Yellow Fever: Skin Bleaching and the Politics of Skin Color, which investigates the social practice of skin bleaching in Ghana. Dr. Blay is the recipient of a 2010 Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grant through which she embarked upon this project. Noelle Théard is a Miami-based freelance photographer and educator. She holds an M.A. in African Diaspora Studies from Florida International University, a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, and a certificate in advanced studies from the Spéos Photography Institute in Paris, France. She is currently pursing an MFA in Photography from Parsons The New School for Design. Her photographic work on hip-hop culture has taken her to South America, South Africa, and Europe, and her images of Latin American hip-hop were featured in the Miami Herald’s award winning series called “A Rising Voice: Afro-Latin Americans.” Her professional practices are wide-ranging and include co-directorship of FotoKonbit, a non-profit organization created to engage and empower Haitians to tell their own stories and document their community through photography. Théard is currently an adjunct professor teaching “Africa in Films” and “African Visual Arts” at Florida International University.

“In many ways, we represent artful opposites – very dark skinned with short, tightly coiled hair; and very light skinned with long, straight hair. Two different ends of a phenotypic spectrum, yet we are both Black women. We both know how it feels to not look like everyone else “of our kind;” and we both know first hand the impact skin color politics can have on one’s identity. The purpose of this work is to challenge narrow perceptions of Blackness and to present living testimony to the fluidity of Blackness.”

list of works included & PrIce List Ariel Fernández-Diáz, digital print, 20 x 20 in. (with frame), Not for sale Biany Pérez, digital print, 20 x 20 in. (with frame), Not for sale Brandon Stanford, digital print, 20 x 20 in. (with frame), Not for sale Danielle Ayers, digital print, 20 x 20 in. (with frame), Not for sale Deborah A. Thomas, digital print, 20 x 20 in. (with frame), Not for sale Joshua Bee Alafia, digital print, 20 x 20 in. (with frame), Not for sale Lena Delgado de Torres, digital print, 20 x 20 in. (with frame), Not for sale Marta Moreno Vega, digital print, 20 x 20 in. (with frame), Not for sale Michael Shawn Cordero, digital print, 20 x 20 in. (with frame), Not for sale Rosa Clemente, digital print, 20 x 20 in. (with frame), Not for sale

Photo Credit: Jamel Shabazz

curator denise m. brown exhibit design

+ installation jim brossy

board of directors

Amadee L. Braxton, President Carolyn Chernoff Gretjen Clausing, Treasurer Patience Rage Tina Morton Virginia P. Sikes, Esq. staff

Denise M. Brown, Executive Director Hope Steinman-Iacullo, Program Assistant Maori Karmael Holmes, Associate Director Sara Zia Ebrahimi, Outreach Coordinator Sham-e-Ali Nayeem, Program Director

Profits from works sold in this exhibit go directly to the artists.

Cover image of TaĂ­na Asili illustrated by Maori Karmael Holmes based on a photograph by Liz Lajeunesse.

2011 (Fall) Autohistoria  
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