Medina Roberts embraced the opportunity to create her “featured artist” exhibit at Brush Strokes Gallery with her hallmark, unbridled enthusiasm and innovation.
She set out on a “DC--24 Hours Project” which involved walking the streets of our nation’s capital for a full day and night, collecting images that conveyed the range of its populace and the changes in light and energy with the progression of time.
Medina’s venture took place from midnight until noon and involved a trek from the Capitol grounds to Georgetown to Chinatown to the neighborhood near P and 14thStreets.
Captured in her exhibit’s images, the city’s pulse ranges from night-time crowds enjoying entertainment and dining, to bustling shopping districts, and to the empty streets of a still Sunday morning.
The scenes also conveyed a wide spectrum of people and their conditions. One that impressed her was of a woman hurrying on her way with her Luis Vuitton handbag as she crossed in front of a homeless man on the sidewalk.
“It was not that the woman was calloused or uncaring. She was just moving with the crowd,” said Medina. “We are a country where there are very rich people as well as very poor people. I love America."
She explained, "I chose to immigrate here from Europe. It is the land of opportunity, but people must be equipped to take advantage of those opportunities."
It was not by chance that Medina ended up in the United States, and particularly, in this area. She had been living in Yugoslavia and, when the Bosnian War was imminent, she escaped to live with relatives in Germany when she was 20 and lived there from 1991-1999.
Though it was safer there, Medina never felt truly rooted and had to apply for a temporary visa every six months. When she was granted a refugee status, she carefully sought out a new home for herself and her 12-year old son and traveled from Australia to Vancouver to San Francisco.
But no place seemed right and she resigned herself to return to Germany. As fate would have it, her flight had a stop-over and DC and she used her time in a seven-hour delay to take a cab to see the White House.
It was there that the feeling came over her: “This is home.” And so, the subject matter of DC 24 Hours has special significance for her.
Fredericksburg gallery-goers will be familiar with the energy and passion that Medina conveys in her artwork with her signature broad, bold strokes. This exhibit takes that style to the max, with paintings as large as 70” by 40”.
What viewers may not know is the history of Medina’s evolution as an artist. When she was as young as eight years old and living in Yugoslavia, she was hailed as a child prodigy and she won awards in numerous shows.
Paintings from her youth typically conveyed tranquil village scenes with a sensitivity to color and values that seemed beyond her years.
With the experience of the emerging Bosnian War, Medina’s art took on a new sense of mission—to express the human condition and the power of emotion—and her style changed dramatically.
Throughout May, visitors at the Brush Strokes Gallery will have an opportunity to experience the impact of Medina’s medium and message.
Medina Roberts’ “DC—24 Hours” exhibit will be displayed from April 29 through June 2, and visitors will have an opportunity to meet and chat with Medina and other gallery artists at the exhibit’s opening reception on “First Friday,” May 3, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.