Crowd packs Germantown gallery for show about hypocrisy, racial tension and social injustice

Several paintings adorned walls, sculptures stood on display and people packed the main room of the Imperfect Gallery on Friday for its fourth exhibit entitled “There’s No Racism in America, Now What,” exploring American hypocrisy, racial tensions and social injustices.

Osiris Wildfire, musical director at Coffee After Dark at the Wired Beans Café, opened the performance in Germantown with guitar playing, singing and chants in memory of Native American activist Russell Means who died on Oct. 22.

“Russell means a lot to me,” Wildfire told the audience. “Go to your laptops and look him up.”

The performances

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For the feature performance, Terri “Nightowl” Lyons — a National Association of Professional Women member, Black Essence Award winner and author of five books — read more than a dozen poems.

According to Lyons, her writing muse comes from continuous reading and observing her community.

“I might just sit and read something,” Lyons said. “I do a lot of reading, and through the inspiration of other authors, inspiration of events in history, I’ll bring my own ideas together.

“Sometimes, the people, if they’re angered by something or if there is a disagreement about something … or sometimes if there is a perpetual lie that is passed off as the truth, it will give me motivation to write [a poem].”

Crowd reaction

Linda Zabalou and Renee Jordan, who grew up with Lyons, said they were impressed by both the gallery and their friend’s performance.

“I’ve never been to the gallery before,” Zabalou said. “From what I see, it’s beautiful.”

“Terri now is Terri that’s always been Terri,” Jordan said. “You expect something intelligent.”

To which Zabalou added, “She wanted to stop working in corporate America and do something that made her happy. What she’s doing now is fabulous.”

An upstart gallery

The Imperfect Gallery opened its doors in June.

“The motivation was the realization that I’m in this amazing place, this Germantown place, that’s a ghetto and a fantasy, this dichotomy of beauty and disregard,” said Renny Molenaar, who co-owns the gallery with Rocio Cabello. “Lots of artists, musicians and progressive people mixed in with haters.”

There are two spaces for artists to display their work. The main room holds wall paintings, photography and sculptures, and the Red Room — which is the bathroom — is utilized as another space to display artwork.

The gallery is currently working to create a fellowship for high school students through which Molenaar hopes to bring students of various social, economic and political statuses together.

Each month, the gallery hosts “The Last Supper,” which is a fundraiser method of a pot luck dinner with members of the community.

“I get to meet fine artists, but my sole interest is to facilitate a space that an artist can express themselves in the most complete way possible,” Molenaar said.

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