Saya Woolfalk: The Empathics
Saya Woolfalk: The Empathics was the first solo museum exhibition by the acclaimed multimedia artist and the second in MAM’s New Directions series of contemporary art exhibitions. Blending fantasy, humor, and play, Woolfalk’s art draws on anthropology, mythology, and fashion to present a fantastical world that encourages us to consider our most pressing societal issues, particularly concerning cultural difference, in a new light. The titular Empathics are a fictional group of women who, the artist imagines, blend racial and ethnic identities as they metamorphose, taking on characteristics of both humans and plants. In the exhibition, the Empathics’ story unfolded in the form of a fictitious ethnographic display—yet with kaleidoscopic colors, patterns, and textures unique to Woolfalk’s extraordinary vision. Woolfalk’s colorful installation included human-scale, fabric-based sculptures, some of which double as costumes in her innovative performances; intricate paintings; thought-provoking videos; and interactive web technologies.