“Rhode Island I.M.A.G.I.N.E.s Peace,” curated by Boris Bally, Victoria Gao, Sara Picard and Dianne Reilly, is an exhibition slated for October 7 through 29 at Rhode Island College’s Bannister Gallery. The exhibition features actual guns re-contextualized to stimulate conversation about the topic of gun violence. Imbedded in its title is metalsmith Boris Bally’s anagram: Innovative Merger of Art and Guns to Inspire New Expressions of Peace.
Working in metal, Bally has made it his mission over many years to advocate for better gun laws. Here, he collaborates with Dianne Reilly, a metalsmith and professor at Rhode Island College (RIC); Victoria Gao, director of the Bannister Gallery, and Sara Picard, Associate Professor of Art History at RIC to ultimately create an invitational show comprised of 22 artists called upon to re-contextualize guns. Gao oversaw development for the show and catalog. She stated that the show includes all original artworks made expressly for this exhibit. Picard was tapped (no pun intended) to write the show’s catalog essay, and along with Bally and Reilly, she organized a symposium that will coincide with the exhibit, that is designed to expand today’s public conversation about the issue of gun violence.
“Rhode Island I.M.A.G.I.N.E.S Peace” was originally scheduled for 2020 and due to COVID protocols, the show was bumped into 2021. The subject remains a salient conversation starter because statistically, 2021 has been the deadliest year for gun violence in decades in the United States.