Tarot cards help determine art's outcome
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Tarot cards help determine art's outcome
Tya Alisa Anthony, Four of Wands, collage on paper, 2019.

DENVER, CO.- Tya Alisa Anthony’s layered works draw on the imagery and tradition of tarot. Using the practice of tarot card readings to interpret life’s journeys, Anthony illuminates and reframes the personal stories of Depression-era Black sharecroppers to reimagine them as icons of divine and mystical power. Combining archival photos with botanical imagery, Organic Tarot: Work by Tya Alisa Anthony explores the often-hidden stories of people of color depicted in historic photographs, images that captured only a fragmented moment of their lives. The exhibition, on view in the Freyer – Newman Center January 15 – April 3, 2022, is included with Gardens’ admission. Related programs will be announced later.

The exhibition includes digital and cut-paper collages, all from Anthony’s Organic Tarot series, drawing from historical photos found in archives. Anthony imbues these images with new life by placing them among vibrant botanical imagery and gold painted embellishments. The exhibition also includes a new series of small plaster sculptures.

This body of work is an introspection on histories – both personal and cultural – reinterpreting historical images of marginalized people of color and revealing the multiplicities within Anthony’s identity. Her mother loved artificial flower arrangements and floral patterns. Memories of the floral décor in her childhood home are reflected in the works’ botanical imagery. Her interest in tarot stems from its art historical roots, dating to the Renaissance, and childhood memories of playing card games with her family.

Her creative process starts by sifting through digitized historical photos held by common use archives. Once Anthony has selected an image, she pulls a card from a tarot deck and interprets the photo through the themes of the tarot card. Tarot decks are divided into two groups: 22 major arcana (trump) cards that denote important life events, lessons or milestones, and minor arcana (suit) cards that reflect day-to-day events. Anthony’s works use both the major and minor arcana to present a cohesive narrative.

Tya Alisa Anthony is an interdisciplinary artist and curator who explores themes of social justice, human rights, and identity. Combining photography, collage and sculpture, Anthony reimagines histories to create autonomous spaces for bodies of color. Anthony received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design and is a Redline Contemporary Art Center Residency Artist alumna. She has exhibited in Baltimore, MD and the Colorado region at venues including Center for Visual Arts and Leon Gallery, and is currently a TANK Studios artist. Based in Colorado, Anthony is the executive director and founder of Mahogany Vu Contemporary Art, a thriving online gallery for BIPOC artists, and serves as a board member for Leon Gallery and Tilt West.

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