Emily Heiler         Musa Kunene

Crossley Gallery welcomes you to Rites of Passage, a collection of works reflecting on the complex relationships between the home, femininity and spirituality. Featuring works by Ringling College of Art and Design seniors, Emily Heiler and Musa Kunene, Rites of Passage archives these experiences through the various mediums of painting, drawing and printmaking to invite the viewer into the complicated and deeply personal familial lives of the artists. 

Emily Heiler questions the concept of home and how household objects function through a female lens. The common objects women decide to keep near act as icons of personal experience. By looking into homes and specifically bedrooms of young women, Heiler accounts the intimate details of being in-between youth and adulthood. She looks to her own experiences and the lives of women around her, depicting her subjects in vibrant colors. A strong light source illuminates the subject. Through this contradiction of light and shadow, the work presents the domestic space as a location for both comfort and tension. By painting small moments in time Heiler shows how these moments can actually be of great importance.

Through drawing and photo based images, Musa Kunene explores the intersections between her family and Swazi traditional spirituality, and how these two elements make themselves apparent in her family’s lineage and dynamic. Memory and its unreliability also come into play through her hazy and layered  imagery that incorporate text and family photographs. Kunene merges the human and the animal to depict the traditional spiritual practices from her home country of Swaziland that rely on symbiotic relationships with the natural environment for healing, divination and communication with the ancestors. Drawing from memory and the lived experiences of her closest relatives, Kunene creates layered images to discuss the complex relationships between memory, spirituality and the family.