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Saya Woolfalk is a New York-based artist who created a complex, futuristic utopian culture and society of an interspecies female race called The Empathics. Their mythology and story of origins began with the discovery of chimeric bones that triggered them to metamorphose into a plant, animal, and human hybrid creature. In modern Empathic society, anyone may elect to undergo the experience of interspecies hybridization, thus choosing to become an Empathic and a socially evolved being.
The world of the Empathics emerged from the artist’s investigations and interest in anthropology, science fiction, folklore, mythology, and Afrofuturism. Drawing upon her own experience as a Black, Asian, and white American she explores ideation of cultural hybridity as a pathway toward an equitable society. Woolfalk’s vision of social evolution is attainable by adopting a culture that is in a continuous state of transformation and growth. Utilizing the tradition of folkloric storytelling, Woolfalk creates narratives that manifest these aspirations.
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About the Artist
Saya Woolfalk (Japan 1979) uses science fiction and fantasy to re-imagine the world in multiple dimensions. She has exhibited at museums, galleries, and alternative spaces throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States including numerous solo exhibitions and group shows at the Studio Museum in Harlem; MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY; the Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA., the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, among many others.
Works by the artist are in the collections of major institutions including, among others, the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Mead Art Museum, and the Weatherspoon Art Museum. Woolfalk is the recipient of numerous honors, awards, and commissions. She has delivered numerous public lectures at museums and universities throughout the United States. She is represented by Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York, and teaches in the MFA program at Yale School of Art as well as in the BFA and MFA programs at Parsons: The New School for Design. Woolfalk received her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, in Sculpture. She studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME, and received her BA from Brown University, Providence, RI, in Visual Art & Economics, Honors in Visual Art.
About Rowan University Art Gallery
Rowan University Art Gallery serves as a premier cultural destination for South Jersey, the Rowan community, and the surrounding region. Our mission is to provide a platform for discourse on best practices in contemporary art by professional artists, curators, and scholars through the presentation of interdisciplinary art exhibitions, panel discussions, guest curatorial projects, and other public programming.
Rowan University Art Gallery is open by appointment only. Please reserve a timed ticket in advance to visiting the gallery. All visitors must wear a mask and practice safe distancing.