Cape Verde Exhibit at Stonehill a Partnership with Community
April 29, 2010
By Jessica Kennedy '12
Special to the Enterprise
In one corner stands a wooden table decorated with brightly colored paint and a collage of faded pictures showing smiling faces, near a wall painted as a map of 11 tiny islands.
In a nearby room full of old mirrors, there is a small, snug closet plastered with newspaper headlines illustrating cultural stereotypes.
These pieces are part of an art exhibit at Stonehill College called "The 11th Island: Art, Community and Identity in Cape Verdean Brockton."
The artwork sheds light on the struggles and richness of Cape Verdean culture, all created by "Project Stonehill" and a local group, Cape Verdean Teens United Through the Arts.
The exhibition opened this month in the Cushing Martin Gallery at Stonehill College in Easton and will continue through Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
"When people look at this exhibit, they can see a rich Cape Verdean community in Brockton that contributes to its surrounding community," said Anita Monteiro, executive director of the Cape Verdean Association.
Many members of the group said they want people to realize the powerful values and relationships found in the Cape Verdean culture.
They want people to open their eyes and just "sacuta" - or listen to their story.
"The goal of the exhibit is to focus on the Cape Verdean community as itself," said Elizabeth Belanger, a professor of history and American studies at Stonehill. "It allows the community to speak for and represent itself."
The group began last year when Monteiro began talking with Belanger and Carole Calo, a professor in the fine arts department.
Eventually, Stonehill students joined with Cape Verdean high school students to talk about the culture, community and identity of Cape Verdean residents in Brockton. What they ended up with was the "The 11th Island" exhibit.
"After a while we all found that we had things in common," said Elizabeth Dunn, 21, a teaching assistant at Stonehill and member of the group. "We had similar interests in things like music, dancing and clothes."
They even learned about each other's pain, such as false stereotypes about the Cape Verdean community.
"It shows what's so strong about Cape Verdean culture, like the bond between families and connections between generations," Monteiro said of the exhibit. "The students that put this together can appreciate the different cultures in their world and built a friendship with each other."
For more information, contact Communications and Media Relations at 508-565-1321.