At “Controversially Speaking,” painters, beat poets, musicians and urban lyricists from all over the east coast presented their work to create awareness of current events, injustice and heated issues throughout the world.
“I feel that art should be the most important way of freedom, because it should be a means of saying whatever is on your mind,” Ruiz said.
She explained that it took a severe car accident in 2001 to begin taking her own artwork seriously. Today it has become more than just a passion.
“Realizing that I was immobile, drawing was therapeutic,” she said. “I discovered that this was where my heart was, this was where my passion was.”
In 2008, the now-55-year-old traveler and surrealist painter is back on her feet and started the collective in 2008 to organize her long list of contacts and host numerous exhibitions along the way.
“I like to create opportunities for artists because I understand the difficulties in finding a place to show your work,” Ruiz said.
William S. Peters, Sr., poet and creator of the Interchild Enterprises publishing company, acted as the master of ceremonies for the evening at the Bedford Avenue music hall.
Also known by his poet name “Just Bill,” Peters said he finds his inspiration by creating the dialogue for peace and understanding through art in what is now a tumultuous time in world politics.
“My feeling is that if you sat two people down regardless of their differences for honest dialogue, we’re pretty much all cut from the same cloth,” Peters said. “I think that art tends to open the dialogue.”
Josue Fred has been active in Ruiz’s shows over the last several years, and this time he brought his artwork to the Williamsburg center from his home in Connecticut.
“I’m really just discussing dialogue itself and how it surrounds our society,” Fred explained. “A lot of dialogue is loaded in the media and effects how we think and perceive our surroundings.”
Paintings like “Closed Caption,” one of the two pieces Fred had on display at the gala, depicts a Lego representation of the war currently being fought in Gaza.
“Sometimes I just feel like the media treats us like we need to be informed by how we feel about certain items,” he said of his work. “We really need to be more analytical in our society and we need to be able to look at things objectively and discuss them.”