Local artist Loren Naji spent nearly a month living inside his ArtPrize installation, Emoh, located outside of Kilwin’s Chocolates and Ice Cream.
Emoh (titled “Home” backwards as a statement on society’s values) was created to raise awareness of homelessness and poverty in Northeast Ohio, but made an impact with ArtPrize audiences in Grand Rapids, MI.
From Sept. 10 through the day the winners were announced on Oct. 7, Naji slept on a custom-fitted twin mattress inside his art installation every night throughout his time in Grand Rapids, except for one night he spent at a homeless shelter with a reporter from a Grand Rapids news station. Naji’s efforts earned local and national attention, including an article in USA Today.
Naji was one of just 20 entries out of 1,453 eligible works to continue through to the final round of public voting. The eighth annual ArtPrize drew more than 400,000 visitors to 170 venues this year, and awarded more than half a million dollars in prizes overall.
Naji will discuss his “Emoh adventure” during an informal, half hour discussion at 7 p.m. this Friday, Oct. 28 in his Studio Gallery in Ohio City. Topics to be discussed include how Naji conceived of the idea, the construction process, its significance and meaning, his experience living inside it for nearly a month in an unknown, urban environment, as well as future plans and unanticipated developments. Naji’s talk will be followed by an audience Q&A and an after party (location TBA).
“I will discuss creating my art for social change and relate my adventure of living inside my own spherical sculpture for a month in downtown Grand Rapids among the homeless,” Naji says. “Emoh will be on site for viewing. Come see my temporary home!”
(Loren Naji Studio Gallery) 2138 W. 25th St.