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Mashonda Tifrere and Donna Karan Present Monthlong Art Exhibition

Ella Chakarian | March 19, 2021 | Lifestyle Feature

The duo unveils varied multi-media artwork that honors identity in the Truth About Me exhibition.

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Jazmine Hayes, Solange (2020)

During the past year of separation and uncertainty, art has acted as a mnemonic for power, unity and celebration. Creative expression has been a fundamental facet of community-building and collaboration, a notion that Mashonda Tifrere and Donna Karan are well aware of. The pair, who met in 2017 at Karan's Sag Habor Urban Zen location, have joined artistic forces to create the Truth About Me exhibition. The display, which commemorates emerging and mid-career artists who investigate themes of individualism and the human condition, arrives during Women's History Month and runs through April 17 by appointment. In the heart of West Village, Urban Zen is the 5,000 square foot Truth About Me venue that was once Karan's husband's art studio. Now, the repurposed cultural venue honors his legacy and presents a celebratory showcase of personal identity.

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Mashonda Tifrere

Tifrere, who is the curator of the exhibition and the founder of ArtLeadHer, explains the inspiration behind Truth About Me. “We are all products of a program that was projected onto us at birth and during childhood, and whether or not our inherent beliefs are formed by nature, nurture, or somewhere in between, it is inevitable that we will all lose some portion of our truth along the way," the musician and arts professional explains. In alliance with ArtLeadHer’s tradition of showcasing rising artists alongside established names, the exhibit will feature 19 female-identifying and non-binary creators, along with a 20th solo display entitled Midnight by Amani Lewis.

Karan, who has spent the past year putting on free digital art therapy initiatives for essential workers, aims to continue using her platform to promote cultural preservation, wellness and education across the globe. When speaking about their coinciding intentions beyond the arts, the fashion mogul and philanthropist says that Tifrere is "raising awareness and inspiring change, and that truly expresses what Urban Zen is about – Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, Community and positive Change."

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Installation view of Truth About Me, curated by Mashonda Tifrere at Urban Zen



Photography by: Portrait courtesy of Tifrere; instillation photo by Seleen Saleh