Shedding Some Lyght

Photo by David Khorassani.

Imagine standing in an art gallery surrounded by various pieces while listening to the artist himself speak about his work, his inspiration and his life.

On Saturday, April 2, the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art hosted a mid-day Gallery Talk featuring artist Andrew Lyght and guest curator Tumelo Mosaka. The conversation concentrated on Lyght’s first big exhibition, “Full Circle,” which will remain in the museum until April 10.

According to Dorsky curator Daniel Belasco, the museum consistently attempts to organize at least one event along with each exhibition. Belasco said that whenever possible, the Dorsky welcomes artists to speak about their art.

“We always try to invite living artists,” Belasco said.

Saturday’s event began with an introduction from Neil C. Trager Director Sara J. Pasti followed by Belasco, who introduced Mosaka and then Lyght. After multiple expressions of gratitude, Mosaka provided some context for how he came to curate this show.

“When I got the invitation, I didn’t even know where the Dorsky Museum was,” Mosaka admitted.

Since then, he has become very familiar with the regional museum and Lyght. Mosaka said that the chance to work with an artist under the radar excited him. Lyght’s wealth of work remained mostly unseen by New York City, and Mosaka had the privilege of exposing Lyght’s creations to a broader audience.

According to the guest curator, the two spent around two to three hours discussing the native Guyanese artist’s craft. Mosaka described Lyght as a likeable person because of his willingness to talk about his art and his easygoing nature.

“I knew from that first encounter that he wouldn’t be too much trouble when it comes to understanding his work,” Mosaka said.

After Mosaka spoke, Lyght took over and discussed who he is as an artist, his journey from Guyana to the Dorsky Museum and every step in between. He shared information about his childhood. Growing up poor, Lyght’s mother taught him to look at the glass half full instead of half empty. He divulged into the reasons why art means something for him.

“Art is not a career for me, it’s a life,” Lyght said.

He reflected on the nightmare of school and adolescence. The other kids often beat him up due to his shy disposition and stutter. Then his principle informed him about an art competition and the young artist’s world changed. He discovered a niche for himself.

He followed the dream of creating around the world from Guyana to Canada, then the United States and Europe. Lyght’s inspirations range from his childhood to the world around him. Three large colorful installations, “Flight Kites,” hover over the gallery floor reminiscent of the young observer’s time flying kites in Guyana.

“I’m interested in breaking new grounds and not what’s popular,” Lyght said. “I’m not interested in making a painting to hang in someone’s home.”

Brooklyn resident Stella Bronwasser attended the event and found Lyght’s work and life story inspiring. Bronwasser noted the beauty of his work and the significance of Lyght’s ability to transform everyday occurrences into art.

“It’s always nice to discover something new,” Bronwasser said.