Breaking the Mould – the Many Faces of Boston

An exciting new exhibition - Friday Face – a year in Boston - by French artist Aurélie Galois, has opened at the French Cultural Center in Boston

June 17th, 2016

Every Friday over the course of a year (between 2014 and 2015), French artist Aurélie Galois painted a portrait of a stranger whom she encountered in her adoptive city of Boston. In addition, she took notes on the personal lives of her subjects, questioning them about their past and their present, their hopes and their fears. The result, Friday Face – a year in Boston, is now on display at the French Cultural Center, the Alliance Française of Boston.

Galois, 38, has had a passion for art and writing from a young age. She holds a master’s degree in literature and history of art, has worked as editor-in-chief of Double Magazine and as a free-lance journalist. In 2014 her work was showcased at the exhibition United Icons of America at the Sloane Merrill Gallery, Boston. That same year she began work on what would eventually become Friday Face.

Galois was still new to the city of Boston when she discovered a way to exercise her talent and to meet people at the same time. She began to paint oil portraits of strangers whom she met at a café that she frequented. In addition to painting their portrait, Galois created vignettes (short written descriptions) of the lives of her subjects. She asked them personal questions, questions which went beyond the superficial and opened up a window into her subject’s very essence: "Tell me about your parents. Tell me about where you were born. Tell me about what your dreams were as a kid."

She wished not only to capture their image on paper but also to record what it was that made them tick. By putting a narrative to a face, Galois has turned nameless strangers into representatives of the city of Boston. She was surprised by how eager people were to participate in her project. They were willing to share personal information and experiences which they would not ordinarily have shared with a stranger.

In the process, Galois discovered a lot about the American people and her new city: “I got to know Boston better just by encountering people and being very observant. I realized this country is made up of people, not clichés. Every person broke down a stereotype" she said. Her portraits and vignettes capture “a cross-section of society,” one which is “very diverse in age, gender, race, ethnicity, faith and sexual orientation.” This exhibition is a celebration of artistic talent, discovery and of the diversity of a great city.

Friday Face will run from 2 June until 1 July this year. The exhibition is open to the public and admission is free of charge.



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Alex Waters, CD News