Kalimah Muhammad’s sculptures follow the path of self-discovery
Celina Colby | 9/21/2017, 6 a.m.
Sculptor Kalimah Muhammad presents a subtle, but significant exhibit of works called “Journey” at Boston Sculptor’s Gallery until October 1. Four thin counters make a square around a support beam in the main exhibition area. Muhammad’s small but powerful sculptures line the counters. Constructed in concrete, the works speak to the idea of a personal journey of transformation.
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Muhammad’s work, though physically small and minimalistic in design, is astoundingly expressive. No sculpture reaches taller than a foot high, and yet they represent giants of emotion, reaching endlessly towards salvation.
Several striking pieces depict a human figure with legs, head and arms shooting upward. They emanate joy. In a world where bigger and louder is purported as better, Muhammad’s work is a refreshing reminder that much can be said in a whisper.
Not all the pieces represent positive parts of the journey. Some of the objects are tight and compact with hard edges, like someone curled into a ball. The sculptures are intermixed throughout the installation, a representation of the ups and downs of self-actualization.
Muhammad studied at Montserrat College of Art and has been a member of Boston Sculptors Gallery since 2012. She uses found and fabricated materials, often construction components such as wood, concrete and steel, to create a sensory experience. In her artist’s statement she expresses a desire to heighten her audience’s visual awareness of everyday life and the materials in it.
Her use of concrete for such subtle sculptures serves as an example of this substantive manipulation. Primarily used to construct buildings and monolithic structures, here concrete represents a more spiritual, ethereal journey of personal development.
“Journey” is paired with an exhibition of Murray Dewart’s sculptures, called “Spirit Level.” Dewart’s pristine works cast in heavy bronze provide a stark contrast to Muhammad’s lighter style. The two exhibits show dramatically different representations of spirituality, but work harmoniously to express two artists’ points of view. Dewart is a veteran of the Boston art scene, with works in over thirty museums and public collections. Seeing the two artists at opposite ends of their careers further illustrates the journey in Muhammad’s exhibition. Everything created during that journey is valuable, and represents a specific state of the artist’s mind.
A visit to “Journey” is a cleansing, motivating and sometimes meditative experience. It provides a chance to turn off the chaos of the world around, and follow a self-reflective path through sculpture.