Expressing Pain Through Art

I left the train station to catch a cab to my boutique hotel near Dupont Circle. There, in the shadow of the Capitol Building, sat a man with tears streaming down his cheeks. Two police officers were attending to him. Was his pain was physical or emotional? His face was reddish. He appeared to be homeless.  

That night as I was waiting for sleep, I thought about this man and how to capture the pain he was experiencing. 

The show Inter | Sectionality: Diaspora Art from the Creole City at the Corcoran Gallery of Art held an answer. While not all the pieces in this exhibit investigate pain, I felt it in several of the works. See for yourself at:‘inter-sectionality-diaspora-art-creole-city’-corcoran-celebrates-unique-cultural-identities-artists?mc_cid=8dd7aa49ba&mc_eid=2cb0134344

Later in the day, I went to an exhibit at IA&A Hillyer. IA&A is a non-profit gallery dedicated to showing international and local artists. The first gallery held The Washingtonian Service by Neil Forrest. This exhibit consists of a group of ceramic spheres and other glazed shapes and dropped onto terra cotta slabs. The centerpiece is a large slab placed on sawhorses with a hole in the middle. Surrounding the holes is a white fence. Lying on the floor under the hole is a planet-like orb. I see this as representing the conflict between warnings of climate change and climate deniers. The fence seems to be keeping us away from viewing this disaster. For a view from the top, go to

Read more about this exhibition at

Both the shows at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and IA&A Hillyer were exhilarating and challenging. If you find yourself in Washington, D.C., catch these two exhibits.

INTER | SECTIONALITY: Diaspora from the Creole City through March 20, 2020, at Corcoran Flagg Building, 500 17th Street, NW. Gallery hours Tues–Fri, 10 am–6 pm, Sat-Sun 1 – 6 p.m. Admission: FREE.

Neil Forrest: The Washingtonian Service  Through Feb. 2 at IA&A at Hillyer, 9 Hillyer Ct. NW. Gallery Hours Tue-Fri 12-6 pm, Sat-Mon 12-5 pm, and by appointment. Admission: FREE; $8 suggested donation.