It is defined as an individual’s ability to adapt and overcome adversity. It allows people the ability to bounce back after life–altering events and gives them strength and toughness. It’s resilience.
As the topic of the newest show at Santa Clara’s Studio Bongiorno, Resilience, curated by artist William Halleck, features seven artists who embody what it means to be resilient.
“For me,” says Halleck, “resilience is connected to me in several ways because of my background and my life experiences. I’m gay. I’m HIV positive and I’m in recovery. Those three things, I feel, don’t define me. They’re part of my history, but they give me the opportunity or something to step on to understand how I can move through life now. They give me a connection to other people. So, [Studio Bongiorno owner] Phil [Bongiorno] and I got together and wanted to tap into those life struggles and see if we could put together a show based on resilience.
“Resilience is something that’s found in anyone,” he continues. “It’s a process of going through good and bad and coming out reborn or coming out refreshed or coming out with a new optimism on life. It’s that somehow, somebody finds an ability to cope with life.”
Halleck, who plans on bringing an organic piece created out of bamboo for one of his Resilience submissions, called upon his artist friends to contribute and came up with an all–star roster of artists in the process.
Starting with Studio Bongiorno resident artist, Bob Knight whose struggle with lymphedema often makes activities, like walking, difficult, Halleck chose five additional artists whose resilience is apparent in their work.
Chelsi Whiting, another of Studio Bongiorno’s resident artists, whose struggle with depression and addiction are clear within the pieces hanging on the studio’s walls will be part of Resilience, as well as cancer survivor Brande Barett; Masha Schultz, one of Halleck’s friends from recovery; Brandon Anderton who has, according to Halleck, “overcome breaking every bone in his body in one way or another and now living in pain, but creating these mandalas in the sand that get washed away;” and Miguel Machuca in his first show since being diagnosed with, and going through treatment for, cancer.
“[Halleck] told me about it and I was immediately interested,” says Machuca. “The reason why is because I felt that now I had this responsibility in educating people or communicating what a person with cancer goes through, and how horror and negative thinking can bring you down. I felt that by letting people in, through my step–by–step process to my recovery, [it] would illustrate a better picture and understanding how positive thinking and stories of glory and triumph can really help people beat the fear and be successful in their recovery.”
Resilience opens on Saturday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m. at 500 Lincoln Street, across from the Santa Clara Mission Cemetery off Winchester Boulevard and Bellomy Street.
An event where the artists will discuss their pieces and the meaning behind them is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m.