SBCC’s Atkinson Gallery hosts webinar lecture and outdoor exhibition by Muna Malik

SBCC’s Atkinson Gallery hosts webinar lecture and outdoor exhibition by Muna Malik
Artist Muna Malik and her installation "Blessing of the Boats: River to River," August 2020, NYC
October 07, 2020

SBCC’s Atkinson Gallery hosts webinar lecture and outdoor exhibition by Muna Malik

The Atkinson Gallery at Santa Barbara City College is pleased to host an exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist Muna Malik, “Blessing of the Boats,” Oct. 23 – Dec. 11, 2020. Since the interior space of the Atkinson Gallery is currently closed to the public due to COVID-19, the installation will be presented on the Gallery’s outdoor sculpture terrace so that it may be viewed remotely from Pershing Park and other locations around the city.  

Malik, whose current work uses abstract paintings and interactive sculpture to create poetic imagery around the narratives of women of color and refugees, will present a webinar lecture on her work and practice on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 4 p.m. Click here to register for the event.

The “Blessing of the Boats” is an ongoing art project focused on a series of large illuminated sculptural boats made of metal and reflective surfaces. The project prompts interaction with the public by encouraging viewers to create small paper origami boats with personal heartfelt messages for the future. The messages are then collected and added to each installation allowing it to grow over time. The first installation of “Blessing of the Boats” was featured at the Northern Spark Arts Festival in Minnesota in 2016. This installation allowed Northern Spark Festival goers to take an artist-led journey across the historic Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis. On the walk, they experienced music, poetry and stories performed by local artists directly connected to the ongoing refugee crisis. The journey culminated in a silent vigil surrounding the “Blessing of the Boats” installation commemorating refugees who’d lost their lives journeying to safety.

The “Blessing of The Boats” installation has evolved by expanding its focus and replicating it in new public and private spaces around the country. Building on the initial topic of global migration, the goal now is to prompt people to consider how together we can create a better society. The project asks the questions, “What messages would people leave if they knew it would have a large impact on someone anywhere in the world?” and, “If we have the opportunity to sail toward a new future, what society would you build and how do we get there?” 

Those who wish to leave origami boat messages can mail them or drop them off safely at unmanned stations installed on campus and other local locations. For more information on where and how to view the installation and where to send origami messages, go to:

Visit Muna Malik’s website here.

This project is partially supported by a Removing Barriers to STEM Success Title III Federal Grant.