A new Gallery 360 exhibition is a cross-campus exploration of water, earth, human bodies and decolonizing the environment

Double exposure image of a piece from the Gallery 360 event seen through the glass wall of the exhibit.
“Container #6” from artist Joiri Minaya in Gallery 360, as part of “Fluid Matters, Grounded Bodies.” Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

The latest exhibition at Gallery 360 goes beyond the walls of Northeastern University’s contemporary art gallery –– literally and figuratively.

Featuring pieces from an international group of 11 artists working with a variety of media, “Fluid Matters, Grounded Bodies” focuses on the natural environment –– and how it’s been linked, often violently, by colonial powers with the bodies of marginalized peoples to dehumanize them. 

For the artists featured in the exhibition, their work is resistance, a way to appropriate those connections and use them to imagine a future beyond colonialism.

“Art can be a really powerful platform for exploring knotty topics, and the relationship between colonialism and bodies and land is perhaps as knotty as it gets,” says Juliana Barton, curator of Gallery 360 and director of the Center for the Arts. “But [the exhibition] is not just challenging and provoking but thinking toward futures, and I think in looking toward the future, there’s hope in that. Amidst some really dark times, there’s actually some really beautiful hopefulness about thinking creatively and artistically about how we want to envision a future.”

Featured artists include: Farah Al Qasimi, Beatriz Cortez, micha cárdenas, Tessa Grundon, Allison Janae Hamilton, Joiri Minaya, Ada M. Patterson, Wendy Red Star, Himali Singh Soin, Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens. 

The exhibition, which opens Nov. 16 and runs until April 6, is expansive, in more ways than one. The theme of “Fluid Matters, Grounded Bodies” is ambitious, with ideas and artists that span the globe. The exhibition is also, literally, an expansion of one that was originally housed at the Gallatin Galleries in New York. Barton was so struck by the original exhibition and how it intersected with her own thematic interests that she collaborated with the New York curatorial team to bring it to Boston.

“It is not the same exhibition that existed in New York,” Barton says. “There are new artists, there is different work, so it is a new iteration of the show. We got to think back with that team about what they weren’t able to include, what conversations were missed and how we could expand them.”

It’s appropriate, then, that Gallery 360 also won’t be the only place on Northeastern’s campus that people can see “Fluid Matters, Grounded Bodies.” A new collaboration between Gallery 360 and City and Community Engagement will also bring the exhibition to Northeastern Crossing, the university’s open community space on Tremont Street.

The Crossing is “naturally designed to be a community space,” says Chimel Idiokitas, assistant vice president for community relations at Northeastern, but the goal is also to point community members toward other spaces they can enjoy on campus. By making the exhibition into a cross-campus experience, Idiokitas and Barton hope to activate connections between the Northeastern community and members of the Greater Boston community.

“We’re trying to really make sure that when folks come to the Crossing, yes, they enjoy the space and enjoy the community, but understand there’s a whole other side on campus that you can also enjoy and we want to redirect you there as well,” Idiokitas says.

“I also want [students] to come over to the Crossing and intersect with the community in Boston and … really engage with the folks that are building infrastructure in the city and moving and pushing the needle in the city,” he adds.

People will also be able to experience the exhibition through a catalog featuring interviews with the artists that will be published next year.

Between all the ways that people can experience “Fluid Matters, Grounded Bodies,” Barton hopes the multimedia, multi-site exhibition will be more than a conversation starter that gets people to not just talk and think but act.

“I hope that people see versions of that future that they want to enact and find ways of mobilizing and moving towards that collectively,” Barton says.

Cody Mello-Klein is a Northeastern Global News reporter. Email him at c.mello-klein@northeastern.edu. Follow him on X/Twitter @Proelectioneer.