JoAnne McFarland & Sasha Chavchavadze, co–curators


Sarah ‘Sally’ Hemings, a mixed–race slave woman, and Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s Founding Fathers, had six children together. While a teenager in France with Jefferson’s family, Hemings had a chance at full freedom, but returned to America with Jefferson in 1791 when he was 47 years old.

SALLY explores how contemporary conceptions of white/black, male/female, young/old, rich/poor reflect or disrupt earlier cultural norms, and how connection, which all humans crave, happens across differences. The exhibition unites an eclectic array of artists and thinkers who use their practices to strengthen community and open dialogue around complex, often divisive issues.

The SALLY Project showcases artists at different stages of their lives and careers, making different kinds of work using different media, from different backgrounds, cultures, races, and ethnicities. In this way the curatorial premise encourages a vibrant mix of viewpoints around the theme of living with agency and radiance in spite of, and perhaps even due to, challenges in one’s environment.

The SALLY Project opened in October 2019 at three Brooklyn venues: The Old Stone House & Washington Park, The Gowanus Dredgers Boathouse, and Artpoetica Project Space. The project is currently online at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. In August 2021 SALLY will be in Wellfleet, MA, and in November at SUNY Adirondack. SALLY highlights the work of artists interested in reanimating the narratives of women from the past who can serve as catalysts in this radical present.

A website that archives materials related to past and present female makers serves as the fulcrum of SALLY.


Artists represented in images:

Jee Hwang

Carole Kunstadt

Robin Holder

Philemona Williamson

Fabiola Jean–Louis (left): Shanti Grumbine (right)

Hong Zhang

Deborah Castillo

Marisa Williamson


For more information:



SALLY Wellfleet Exhibition Brochure May 2021