Arts preview: Artist Mona Gazala's Fragmented Histories at the Columbus Cultural Arts Center

Jim Fischer

Experimental/installation artist Mona Gazala draws connections between ancient ruins and derelict and abandoned structures in current times in her one-woman show at the Columbus Cultural Arts Center during January and February.

Gazala's lifelong fascination with archaeology, fueled in part by her family's Palestinian heritage ("We have family photos at these ancient structures and excavation sites," she said), has influenced her perspective on abandoned industrial and residential structures in her hometown of Cleveland and her adopted home in the Franklinton neighborhood of Columbus.

"It's calledFragmented Histories for a reason," Gazala said of her multimedia exhibition, which features primarily new work completed in a "very productive" past year. "There's an autobiographical element to it, a nod to my ancestral past as well as the migratory aspect of my life that brought me to Franklinton."

Her Columbus neighborhood, where she founded Second Sight Project, an artist-in-residence installation space on Bellows Avenue, has had a profound impact on her recent work, Gazala said.

"I'm fond of Franklinton, and the new work is very Franklinton-focused," she said. "The show explores some social issues - poverty, displacement, marginalization, gentrification - and how things get forgotten."

Gazala mentioned that the exhibition is funded in part by the Puffin Foundation West, whose mission is to promote social justice issues and artists whose work addresses those issues.

Gazala said she's very excited to see her work in the CAC, a space large enough to accommodate some of her larger installations - including a central piece that hangs from the ceiling - while giving them room to breathe.

"Some of these works need that extra space, where you can pause between the different pieces of the exhibition," she said.


6-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15

139 W. Main St.