Nigerian Girls Not Forgotten at Gallery Bergen

Badluck (60” x 44”), 2014, Mary Mihelic
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With 223 Nigerian schoolgirls still missing after a kidnapping perpetrated by terrorist group Boko Haram, artist Mary Mihelic’s “Running Girls” seeks to convey the strength and courage of those who escaped. Mihelic’s series of life-sized mixed media works represent the latest exhibition in Gallery Bergen, located at Bergen Community College’s main campus.

The exhibition opens Tuesday, Feb. 10 and runs through Friday, April 3. An opening reception will take place Tuesday, Feb. 17 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the gallery, located on the third floor of West Hall at the Bergen’s main campus, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus, N.J. The public gallery is open Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Wednesdays, 2 to 6 p.m.; Thursdays, 2 to 8 p.m.; and Fridays, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

A Brooklyn-based artist, Mihelic’s show features 28 works to date and will eventually include one piece for each of the 53 schoolgirls who fled their abductors. Abstractly figurative with references to running, the use of text often alludes to literacy and numeracy – skills the Boko Haram prohibits females from learning.

“The art is about that split-second decision when a person decides to run,” Mihelic said.

To complement the “Running Girls” exhibition, several “running event” performances and art installations – including a backpack collection drive and conference, “#BringBackOurGirls: Targeting Women” – are planned throughout March during Women’s History Month. For more information about the exhibited work and coinciding installations and events, please visit: www.bergen.edu/gallery.

Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu) based in Paramus is a public two-year coeducational college, enrolling nearly 16,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip J. Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields.

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