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Reimagined Topographies takes a communal look at devastation

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Reimagined Topographies is a community based art project on display Dec. 7 through Dec. 31 at the State Theaters Building in Farmington.
Reimagined Topographies is a community based art project on display Dec. 7 through Dec. 31 at the State Theaters Building in Farmington.

FARMINGTON – Reimagined Topographies, an art project for and by the local community, will be on display Dec. 7 through Dec. 31 at the State Theaters Building at 229 Broadway.

Joshua DeMello, the project creator, is currently working on his Master’s Degree in Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts and his work has been moving in the direction of conceptual and community based art. The project began with a simple question, for DeMello: “How does my community value art?”

“In my studio I used paper and waste toner to make images that were intended to fund a community project,” DeMello said. “What really changed the course of this work is that the images I was producing looked like topographic images of land that had been destroyed. I started thinking of all the places in our lives that little catastrophes and shifts have altered the landscape; in the economy, industry, downtown storefronts, environment, families, pop culture, story and myth, and I wanted to use the idea and paper as a catalyst for changing these thoughts of a destructive course.”

The community response has been positive to the project. “The work is dependent on group or community participation because art is subjectively found in the connections and experience we share in the artistic experience,” DeMello said.

Showing the work within the community was very important to him and it took a lot of searching to find a way to fund this. “I wrote a grant to Coffee by Design in Portland, Maine and was awarded the grant which is funding the space and printing of the work in a book once this show is over,” DeMello said.

Everyone who comes in is invited to take a topography and asked to “put the life back into it.” Each one that comes back is added to the community wall and will be printed in the book that will be created with the images.

“I made the first 10 destroyed topographies myself and some people have made a few, but the current count is 73. We handed out over 30 destroyed topographies on the opening day and expect many of them to come back over the rest of the month,” he said.

“We catalog each piece by name, title, and plate number, before installing it in the collection. We are having an opening Dec. 14 from noon – 2 p.m. with music and food,” DeMello said.

Hours for viewing the showing are Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday noon – 4 p.m., as well as Thursday 1-4 p.m. or by appointment. (Corrected)

This project is also being carried out in the New Portland Area by Lolly Phoenix and will be show at the New Portland Library in January with an opening on Jan 12.

Everyone who comes in is invited to take a topography and asked to "put the life back into it."
Everyone who comes in is invited to take a topography and asked to “put the life back into it.”

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