Lucy, Darwin and Me
Installation: decals, mural, drawings, video, photos, objects
Art produce Gallery
San Diego, 2009
December 12, 2009 – January 24, 2010
On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publishing of On the Origin of Species, Michele Guieu puts together a show, “Lucy, Darwin and Me,” that celebrates our origins and biodiversity, and evokes the years she spent in Africa, including the trips she took to the Sahara desert with her geologist father and her biologist mother. Michele’s time in Africa coincided with the discovery of the skeleton known as Lucy, the oldest hominid found at the time and named for the Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”
In this show, constructed like a natural history museum exhibition, Guieu is at the same time the designer, the curator and the artist. And through it, she recalls her formative adolescent years spent in the Sahara with her father and with her family, finding fossils and sleeping under the stars.
The show is a two-room installation, comprised of a series of drawings scattered within a mural and a large cloud of text, period photos from the Sahara, family artifacts, and selected short videos.
Michele Guieu is a San Diego Art Prize 2009 nominee. The show was made possible by collaboration between Patricia Frischer from the San Diego Visual Art Networks (SDVAN), and Lynn Susholtz, director of the Art Produce Gallery. In 2009, Art Produce Gallery has been honored with an Orchid award in the category of Public Art by the San Diego Architectural Foundation.
Michele describes “Lucy, Darwin and Me” as very autobiographical. She says, “I was raised in a family where I always heard about evolution, species and continental drift. It is a natural part of my life. I find it interesting that the country where I live today is profoundly divided about the notion of evolution.
“I started to really consider working specifically for a space with the mural for the San Diego Art Prize show at Noel Baza Fine Art last February. I continued on the same path at the SDAI with my solo show “C’est la Vie”, in June 2009.
“For this show I worked with the specifics of both rooms in the gallery. I use the long wall in the first room for the mural. In the second room, smaller and more intimate, I show the photos of my father and family in Africa circa 1975 and a series of artifacts found in the desert or belonging to my father.”
About the opening festivities, Michele Guieu says: “I believe in bringing energies together, and for that reason, I was very interested in including the music I was listening to and the tales and stories I read when I was a teenager, living in Senegal. I want to share some of this very rich culture by inviting other artists to participate in the event.
“I am thrilled that Leslie Ryan and Deborah Forster accepted the proposition to organize a panel discussion on the occasion of the show. It brings a scientific perspective on evolution to the show and offers the occasion to reflect together on a subject which touches our everyday life.
The gallery events happening around this show are the result of a desire to make the community participate and to open the dialogue. Art Produce is definitely community oriented and this important goal suits very well what I am looking for with my work.
Michele adds: “I am interested in making ephemeral elements, like murals in a gallery. It makes the work less sacred. In this show I wanted to mix different techniques (photo, video, drawing, painting), to create a museum-like ambiance. The first room is inviting from the outside; the second room is more intimate.”
Events part of the Exhibition:
– Marian Williams tells African tales for children and Alfusainey Suso plays the traditional West African kora, December 12, 2009.
– A casual conversation with Michele Guieu, January 9, 2010.
– Darwin’s Weeds: a Panel Discussion, with Leslie Ryan, landscape architect, AEREA, a San Diego landscape architecture firm, and Deborah Forster, Dept. of Cognitive Science, UC San Diego, January 16, 2010.
Art Produce Gallery
3139 University Avenue
San Diego, CA 92104