MSUToday
Published: Feb. 20, 2014

'Love Economy' is turning heads

By: Annie McGraw Media Communications annie.mcgraw@cabs.msu.eduContact(s): Kristen Parker Media Communications office: (517) 353-8942 cell: (517) 980-0709 Kristen.Parker@cabs.msu.edu

The new exhibit “Love Economy,” in the Residential College in the Art and Humanities’ LookOut! Gallery, is definitely turning heads. With a giant painting sitting in the window of the gallery that overlooks the Snyder Phillips dining hall, it’s pretty hard not to notice.

Tomashi Jackson, the artist, was given inspiration to create the “Love Economy” exhibit when she lived in New York City and realized there was a majority of women taking care of children who were not their own. She eventually became one of these women, doing labor around the house and watching children for another family. All the work was under the table, so it was easy to be let go with no compensation. The demanding work and the disconnect from the women’s own families all play a part in the vulnerability of the exhibit.

Jackson created artwork different from other artists who have gathered inspiration from this topic. Instead of picturing the children, she painted the women, and used things like wrappers from the children’s lunches she prepared as a collage on the paintings. Some also include film strips of pictures taken with these families. There are also videos of Jackson singing and doing laborious work, much like she would have while on the job.

“Love Economy” was brought to the LookOut! Gallery as part of the annual “Emerging Visions” showcase, which is an exploration of the African American experience. This year, the show opened on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and was part of the Project 60/50 program on campus.

Steve Baibak, the LookOut! Gallery preparer and academic superviser, was instrumental in the setup of the exhibit. He figures out everything from where the pictures are going to hang to making sure the artist is satisfied with how the overall exhibition looks. He also works as the liaison between the artist and the gallery, so both the artist’s needs are met and the gallery gets the finished product that they want.

Baibak, an artist himself, loves being a part of making the LookOut! Gallery come to life. “

I like doing it very much. I get to meet a lot of interesting people and I’m very happy being here, doing that,” Baibak says. “I’m a sculptor myself, so I think about how I can activate the space, so it gives me a place to be very creative.”

The new exhibit "Love Economy," in the Residential College in the Art and Humanities' LookOut! Gallery, is definitely turning heads.

The new exhibit "Love Economy," in the Residential College in the Art and Humanities' LookOut! Gallery, is definitely turning heads.

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