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Jul 19, 2000

Musa, Swasey, Gordon exhibit at Image Factory

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It started back in 1992 with a millennium anticipating exhibition entitled “Minus Eight”. Eight years later, having now reached “Zero”, the hyper active minds at the Image Factory are not only older, wiser and wealthier, their art is actually coming together. News Five’s Arreini Palacio dropped by to see what was new.

Yasser Musa, Artist

“I started this project, the banana boy project in April of ’99. I conceived it as a three-year project where I would take this small object, this little banana boy and place him in different environments. It has been a dramatic revelation to see how imposing a figure this banana boy has become from a $3.25 object I bought on the side of the street to elevating it to a status symbol like a super hero.”

“It is difficult to separate his identity from my identity because in many ways he is a reflection of the places that I have been, areas I have selected and found interesting. So all the decisions I made to put him in were biographical, we make these choices based on our personal own choices and experiences.”

Arreini Palacio, Reporting

Although the banana boy has traveled far more than the average ceramic piggy bank, hitting Belize, the United States and Taiwan, as well as achieving his share of fame, it is still not clear what his identity really is.

Yasser Musa

“A lot of people find him repulsive. Visually they think he looks ugly. In terms of his race it is difficult to describe him because his hair looks like he would be of African descent yet his skin looks like he would be of Caucasian descent. Then his status is obscure, he has on no shirt and then he is holding this banana. So you don’t know what it is, he has a very obscure personality and I think this intimidates people. They don’t know what it is. It is not a character they can immediately identify with. They have not been sold on the idea.”

While people are trying to buy the idea of Musa’s Banana Boy, “ZERO,” Image Factory’s Exhibition also features the work of artists Gilvano Swasey and Michael Gordon. For Swasey his mixed media collection has an element of surprise.

Gilvano Swasey, Artist

“I try to make art to be like a surprise, it should not be expected. Like if you come to my show and I am painting coconut trees today, I don’t want you to come to my show and you know that there will be a coconut tree in my show. I want you to want to figure out what will he do next, or what will happen or what will I see. I try to create things that are different. Things that don’t think about everyday.”

“I had done a portrait of a lady that is called Curlet and I had her for a while and I did not know what to do with her. Then one day I went to a friend’s house and they had all these old windows in the back and they were going to throw it away and I was thinking what will I do with them and then I realized that when I am documenting these people on the streets I was looking into their lives. It is secretive to us because we just see them, we don’t know everything, but whenever I captured them and I look at them I see the emotions and I get a response from them. So I framed them in pieces and it looks like they are looking through windows, like they are panes and it was ironic that these things that I had, these huge wooden things were windows. Instead of it being something locked up, it is something that you can open and so I put them in these windows and that you can open and take a peak into their lives.”

And everyone could get a peek at the exhibition. It will be open at the Image Factory until August twenty-fifth. Arreini Palacio for News Five.

Prices for the pieces range from fifty to two thousand dollars.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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