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Textile artist showcases collective joy

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

Alexandra Beaumont is a textile and movement artist based in Minneapolis. Her latest solo exhibit, “Dancing With Friends”, is a collection of large-scale textile collages. In the exhibit, Beaumont utilizes fabrics of various colors and textures to capture moments of dancing within the feminine body, to evoke joy and connectivity. The exhibit is being hosted by the Women United Art Movement and is available for view online through August 14.

Beaumont says the exhibit was inspired by the impact of social deprivation caused by the pandemic and the uprising following the murder of George Floyd. She says she felt called to amplify a crucial perspective.

“Around the uprising in particular, folks were really reaching for the tools that help us empathize with other people – people from disparate backgrounds, from different races. Shared tragedy and pain is a very natural kind of handle for that. We can all connect to the pain of loss, the pain of marginalization in ways big and small; I think it's a tool to try and understand what other people are going through,” reflected Beaumont. “But for me, I wanted to also explore, how do we find empathy with each other through joy? Through recognizing and seeing others' expressions of joy? Because that is as human and as valid.”

Beaumont says being raised by two musicians showed her the power of cultivating joyful spaces for other people. And so she decided to do it herself.

“I texted my friends like, ‘Hey, do y'all have any videos or pictures of you dancing?’ and then I got this little treasure trove together of my beautiful friends moving and feeling themselves, and tender connection with each of their images. I wanted to expand that as I grew the project. So we hosted a big dance party at Public Functionary in March of this year, and got so many gorgeous photographs of folks getting down together,” Beaumont said. “It’s heart swelling, and just really beautiful for me.”

Beaumont says self expression is a catalyst for cultural healing, but it requires nurturing. She says it is important to focus on relieving shared tragedy and pain, so that the community can move towards being collectively well. For that reason, she says “Dancing With Friends” will continue to be a growing project.

“One of the things that has really moved me as I've dug into what it means when we move our bodies in space together, is the essential place that social dancing has held specifically for marginalized communities, specifically for Black communities,” Beaumont said. “It's liberatory. There's a lot of vulnerability in it. You're being seen, you're being witnessed, you're seeing other people. But because it's a public display, it allows and encourages you to bring out more of yourself. Where else do we find that – where we really just pull out the juiciness of each other? That, to me, feels really toothy and rich, and even more nuanced and maybe conflicting at times.”

You can visit the virtual art gallery and see Beaumont’s “Dancing With Friends” here through August 14.

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