The Bajo El Sol Gallery in Cruz Bay will host a screening of the documentary film “Reflections” and a pop-up exhibition titled “Foundations” by Janet Cook-Rutnik on Saturday, April 9. The reception of the exhibition opens at 5 p.m. and the screening of the film begins at 6 p.m.
Two years ago, Cook-Rutnik began work on “Reflections,” a documentary comprised of interviews with three Virgin Island ancestors whose lives and memories shed light on the spiritual and emotional underpinnings of our contemporary society.
This 18.5-minute film was gleaned from eight hours of videotape and features the perspectives of the three St. Johnians – Oscar James, Kenneth Marsh and Gloria Samuel – as they reflect on their personal history and that of of St. John’s during the pivotal period in the Virgin Islands from the 1930s to the present day. This project also includes archival photographic transfers and other photographs on rocks and concrete blocks that form the foundations of our physical built environment.
“We appreciate artists and filmmakers who choose to document ancestral stories, especially those who present the stories of the Virgin Islands and St. John in particular. These oral histories are a powerful tool to help us understand the past in order to better navigate our future,” said Priscilla Hintz Rivera Knight, Curator and Director of Bajo El Sol Gallery.
This project was funded in part by the Virgin Islands Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Cook-Rutnik is an artist working in Saint John since 1969. She studied sculpture with Richard Stankiewicz at SUNY in 1968, printmaking at Skidmore College, NY, in 1990, and public art, installation and new media at the School of Visual Arts in 2006. She was a Mid Atlantic Arts Creative Fellow in 2008 and 2011.
Cook-Rutnik has exhibited her work throughout the Caribbean as well as in the United States and Europe. Her practice has evolved from painting, sculpture, and printmaking to contemporary works incorporating video, photography, and public art collaborations, often focusing on the history of the Virgin Islands.
Located at Mongoose Junction on St. John, Bajo El Sol Gallery & Art Bar is a hybrid art gallery, bookstore, cafe, rum, and cocktail bar. As a gallery and event space, Bajo El Sol is dedicated to offering the best in fine art and cultural expression from the Virgin Islands.