Scheherazade: Storyteller: Mixed Media Works by Camille Eskell

Artwork by Camille Eskell

South Gallery

March 16 through June 10

Artists’ reception and talk: Wednesday, May 1, 6-8 pm. Reception: 6-7 pm, Sheffer Gallery; Talk with Miggs Burroughs, 7-8 pm in the Forum

Award-winning artist Camille Eskell customarily explores self-perception, societal attitudes, and psychological states related to gender bias in her work.

As a first-generation American and the youngest of three daughters from a Middle Eastern Iraqi-Jewish family from Mumbai (Bombay), her purpose has been to examine her cultural history and familial heritage through a feminist lens in her work. For Eskell, the converging of these three ancient societies compounded the underlying disparagement of women they shared, which deeply impacted her as it played out in the family dynamic.

Through her art, Eskell aims to unearth the influences of embedded patriarchal systems and inequitable gendered traditions that persist across generations. In her current series “The Fez as Storyteller,” a group of mixed-media sculptures and two-dimensional works, she tackles the power of these beliefs and perceptions, and their broader social and psychological legacy.

This series is a culmination of Eskell’s lifelong interests in art, history, costume, and psychology. The works combine elements, cultural symbols, and associations from Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sephardic traditions, often melding male and female garments and accessories to raise questions about female empowerment or constriction. She often uses the fez cap, the traditionally male Ottoman headgear, as a structural base for storytelling and to signify the patriarchal base established by her grandfathers, who left Iraq for Mumbai and became traders of these hats in their adopted land.

The crafting of each piece is meticulous, and process driven, integrating a range of materials and techniques to attain her visual concept. The designs combine digital photo-based collage, with textiles such as saris, hand-made paper, cast sculpture, trims, jewels, and embellishments; her methods include disassembling/re-working existing garments, hand-sewing, and beading, and more.

Eskell exhibits her work extensively in solo and group shows throughout the U.S. and abroad, including Mexico and South America. Her work is in numerous public and private collections, such as the Hudson River Museum, Chrysler Museum of Art, the Housatonic Museum of Art, and the Islip Art Museum. She received Artist Fellowship grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts in drawing, the Connecticut Commission on the Arts in painting, and the CT Office of the Arts in mixed media. She has also received reviews and features in numerous publications including The New York Times, CT Post, The Hartford Courant, Art New England, the Huffington Post, and online journals Art Spiel, Posit 19, and Ante Mag, among others.

Eskell has conducted residencies Weir Farm/National Historic site and the Vermont Studio Center. She earned a MFA from Queens College/CUNY and lives and works in Connecticut.

Exhibit support provided by The Drew Friedman Community Arts Center.

Return to the main "Art At the Library" page

crossmenuchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram