Exhibit on Watertown Arsenal by Local Artist to Show in Boston

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Chantal Zakari

"Building (detail of one of the eight prints from the grid), 2020, by Chantal Zakari, is one of the works to be shown at Kingston Gallery from Nov. 4 to Dec. 6.

“Building (detail of one of the eight prints from the grid), 2020, by Chantal Zakari, is one of the works to be shown at Kingston Gallery from Nov. 4 to Dec. 6.

The late fall season at Kingston Gallery features inventive and provocative new work by Chantal Zakari (a Watertown resident) and Margaret Hart. The exhibitions provide a visual metaphor, either of the overlap of the past history of a particular place or of an imagined merging of nature and technology in a posthuman future.

The Main and Center Galleries feature a solo exhibition by Chantal Zakari. WORK IN PROGRESS is a multimedia exhibition delving into the many histories and identities of the Watertown Federal Arsenal. Zakari visually chronicles the Arsenal from its beginnings in the early 19th century to the present day, using photography, video installation, and an artist’s publication that will be distributed at both the gallery, the new Arsenal Yards, and throughout Watertown. In the Kingston Project Space, Margaret Hart evolves her work from Situated Becomings in the exhibition NEW WORKS. Her cut and paste paper collages explore gender across human and non-human integration.

Kingston Gallery will participate in First Fridays on November 6, with social distancing guidelines in place (we will accept eight visitors at a time). The public is welcome to visit the gallery from noon to 5 p.m. starting November 4, the opening day. Chantal Zakari will welcome visitors who want to chat about the work every Friday 12-1 p.m. and Sunday 4-5 p.m. in person in the gallery and by appointment. 

We will have two online Kingston Conversations with the artists: Hart interviewed by Zakari on Wednesday, November 11, 7-8 p.m. Register hereZakari interviewed by Hart on Wednesday, November 18, 7-8 p.m. Register here

Main and Center Galleries

For the past two years, Chantal Zakari has been exploring the connected histories of the Watertown Federal Arsenal, and of the buildings and the people who worked within them. At the confluence of war, labor, and immigrant narratives, Work In Progress is a multimedia visual metaphor combining the historical past of weapons manufacture with the present-day Arsenal as a changed destination for retail shopping and housing. The title Work in Progress refers to the continuous transformation of this real estate.

Using archival imagery along with her own photography, Zakari creates a visual diagram that outlines the Watertown Federal Arsenal from its start in the 19th century as the primary manufacturer of Civil War weapons. Through World War I, the Arsenal operated largely by way of the labor of European and Middle Eastern immigrants. The images, layered in frames, plexiglass, fabric, and aluminum, construct new intersections of meanings out of two hundred years of history. 

Still from a video installation by Chantal Zakari featuring Ruth Harcovitz singing “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B” at the former Watertown Arsenal (now Arsenal on the Charles).

A video installation in the Center Gallery incorporates performance as a way to interact with this living history. The dance duo Sofia Engelman and Em Papineau recreate movements referencing the workers and officers that used to occupy the buildings decades ago. In conjunction to this video is the operatic voice of Ruth Harcovitz, singing a WWII song Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition and the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company D, in a ghostly apparition amongst the renovation of buildings.

An artist and a graphic designer, Zakari creates an homage to Arsenal News, a bi-weekly publication that served the Watertown Arsenal workers community for 23 years. Her 12-page interpretation of this newspaper features a non-linear history complete with recreated headlines that details the worker’s strike of 1911 and a peace walk from 1961. It will be distributed for free here at Kingston Gallery as well at various locations at the Watertown Arsenal Yards and throughout Watertown.

Chantal Zakari is an artist, designer and educator; a Turkish-Levantine residing in the Boston area. Zakari’s studio practice freely combines research methodologies and artistic strategies borrowed from various disciplines such as photography, documentary, performance, storytelling, installation, graphic design and social interventions. Her work draws upon contemporary social issues by making connections through personal narratives, history and popular culture. With her husband and studio partner Mike Mandel she has self-published several artist’s books under the imprint Eighteen Publications: The Turk & The Jew (1997), webAffairs (2005), Taxi Rides (2009), The State of Ata (2010), They Came to Baghdad (2012), Lockdown Archive (2015) and Catalog of Flags (2018). Zakari has also had solo shows in the U.S. as well as Turkey. 

Kingston Project Space

Margaret Hart created these new collages while sheltering in place for many months due to COVID-19. Evolving from her previous solo show “Situated Becomings” Hart continues to explore gender through the lens of posthumanism, technology, and nature. Drawing inspiration from CRISPR technology and the agency of all non-human beings, the collages physically merge these ideas together to question what is reality and what could be possible.

Visit here for a bio of Margaret Hart.

About Kingston Gallery

An artist-run gallery incorporated in 1982, Kingston Gallery is Boston’s second oldest such institution presently in operation. The gallery exhibits the work of Boston-area contemporary artists, and features a diverse range of media, including painting, photography, sculpture, and installation. Located in the SoWa district in the South End, the exhibitions are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Wednesday–Sunday 12–5 p.m., and by appointment. Our COVID-19 safety guidelines for visitors can be viewed here.

For more information about Kingston Gallery visit: kingstongallery.com
A selection of high-resolution images is available here.

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