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SOUTH OF BOSTON

Craft artists and jazz musicians shine during Women’s History Month

"Women in World Jazz" performs an online concert hosted by Milton Public Library on Thursday, March 25.
"Women in World Jazz" performs an online concert hosted by Milton Public Library on Thursday, March 25.Milton Public Library

Women’s History Month, taking place in March, offers an opportunity to see how women are continuing to make history in the fields of art and music.

“Women have always blazed the trail in craft, from the functional ware of ancient cultures to the feminist protest art of the 1960s to today’s material innovations that obliterate the outmoded line between art and craft,” said Beth McLaughlin, the artistic director and chief curator of the Fuller Craft Museum.

“We have great exhibits by fantastic women artists,” McLaughlin said, pointing to two new one-woman shows by Michelle Samour and Tamara Kostianovsky at the recently reopened museum in Brockton.

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The museum reopened earlier this month and is currently open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Samour, a professor at the School of the Museum Fine Arts at Tufts University, is exhibiting “Mapping Borders and Boundaries,” a selection of work that draws on her Palestinian ancestry to represent the ideas “of homeland, exile, and diaspora,” according to the museum.

Using traditional Palestinian craft materials and techniques such as vibrantly colored textiles and opulent mother-of-pearl carving, her work maps the historical erasure of the state of Palestine, ultimately decimating its borders. She uses the maps “as a visual vocabulary” for the shapes of the pieces, the museum said.

The show also features a large reverse painting on plexiglas of a traditional Palestinian carpet, based on a carpet found in her father’s home.

"Borders and Boundaries: Jerusalem" is part of a new exhibition by Michelle Samour at Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton.
"Borders and Boundaries: Jerusalem" is part of a new exhibition by Michelle Samour at Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton. Michelle Samour

Mother-of-pearl in Palestinian art is derived from the shellfish of the Red Sea, McLaughlin said. It was used in earlier centuries to make souvenirs for Christian Pilgrims traveling to Bethlehem.

Kostianovsky was born in Jerusalem, but after her family emigrated to Argentina, she grew up in that country during the 1970s and ’80s when a military dictatorship carried out a “dirty war” of “disappearing” thousands of political opponents. Her grandmother was murdered during that period.

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Kostianovsky’s show “Savage Legacy” consists of cloth representations of animal carcasses, such as those commonly hanging in the butcher shops of a country that depended heavily on the beef industry. “Savage Legacy” comments on the disregard for the lives of animals in Argentina, political violence, and the destruction of the natural environment.

When the artist moved to America to attend art school, she faced limited means to purchase art supplies, McLaughlin said, and turned to materials at hand, including the cloth in her own wardrobe. “She looks around to see what she does have and cannibalizes her own wardrobe to create work that comments on her past.”

“Her work is making a connection between human bodies, animal bodies, and other living things in our ecosystem as well,” McLaughlin said. “Her practice is informed by atrocities. What she witnesses and wishes to turn into inspiration to create a more sustainable future.”

For information about admission costs and the museum’s other ongoing shows, visit fullercraft.org.

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Women musicians step into the spotlight when the band “Women in World Jazz” performs a Zoom concert hosted by Milton Public Library from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 25. The family-friendly program includes music from the United States, Cuba, Brazil, Cape Verde, Japan, and the Middle East. The library described the concert as a celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment allowing women to vote and a “tribute to both that hard-won battle and to Women’s History Month.”

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Band members include lead vocalist Candida Rose of New Bedford, who performs jazz, rhythm and blues, and gospel with an international touch. Upright bass and accordion player Tal Shalom-Kobi, a native of Israel and the group’s leader, has performed in jazz festivals internationally.

Guitar and bass player Laurie Goldsmith is a Boston-based songwriter and performer who also leads her own group. Ririka Tokushige, also a veteran of the Boston music scene, performs saxophone, clarinet, and flute. Drummer Diane Gately has played in area bands performing jazz, funk, soul, American roots, country, tango, and blues. She has appeared on Mai Cramer’s beloved radio show, “Blues After Hours.”

To register for this concert, go to miltonlibrary.org and click on events on the homepage.

Robert Knox can be reached at rc.knox2@gmail.com.