Abhay Wadhwa’s Gallery AWA is a unique addition to our neighborhood. Located on the third floor of the Pencil Factory at 61 Greenpoint Avenue, the gallery is an attempt to reverse the trend in the art world that sees art solely in terms of profits and the bottom line. Abhay has decided not only to show great art, but also to use art as a vehicle to raise social consciousness. He’s decided to curate exhibits that provide great artists from under-represented parts of the world with a venue to show their talent. The art he chooses is not only beautiful, but also socially-engaged. It’s art that makes the viewer aware of the issues that billions of people around the world face on a daily basis.
Mr. Wadhwa has not only traveled the world, but also absorbed a nuanced understanding of global issues. He wants to use his gallery to do more than merely sell art—he wants to raise consciousness in the viewer. He envisions his gallery as a place where people do more than merely experience great art. Through discussion, films, and talks he hopes to make people aware of the larger social issues that the artists address through their works. He hopes to create a place that captures the zeitgeist of today’s world.
His latest show “Art of the Batey” (on view from April 13 to June 15) is both visually stunning and deeply troubling. The art helps tell the story of the thousands of Haitians who do the dangerous work of cutting sugar cane for in squalor for as little as two dollars a day. The show captures the richness, diversity and talent of Haitian art, but also lifts a veil on the injustices in sugar production. The show has a great diversity of art, yet Mr. Wadhwa has so seamlessly blended these pieces that one seems to merge with the next so that the transition from one artist to the next is flawless. A professional in lighting, Mr. Washwa’s deft use of light enhances the power of the art. Come and visit the show and you will not only come away with a rich appreciation of Haitian art, but also a deeper understanding of the injustices of the Batey.
Don’t miss the panel discussion tonight on modern-day sugarcane plantation slavery practiced in the Bateyes at Gallery Awa— Sugar & Suffering: The Haitian Saga of the Batey.
Gallery AWA is located at 61 Greenpoint Ave. on the third floor.