Alexandra Bell is telling stories, perhaps differently than she once envisioned.
She studied journalism as a graduate student at Columbia University, on track for what she thought would be a career in journalism. But along the way her interests drifted toward art, and her eye on newspapers began to zero in how stories were being told and presented and how much of that was shaped by biases and stereotypes.
Those revelations led her in a new, creative direction. For much of the past five years, the New York-based multidisciplinary artist has used her Counternarratives art exhibits as a form of commentary on media storytelling.
“A lot of what this is about is the ways in which you can kind of disrupt dominant narratives and what it means to kind of draw from the news to tell a different story,” Bell said as she delivered the Winter Term Convocation Friday afternoon in Lawrence University’s Memorial Chapel.
Counternarratives began as a public art exhibit in 2017, her redacted pages of the New York Times hanging on walls at intersections across Brooklyn, drawing attention to how the 2014 death of Michael Brown at the hands of a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, was covered. Her work began to draw attention to media coverage involving people of color, and the clandestine exhibit, initially hung with homemade wheatpaste, eventually brought Bell into art galleries.
Some of her works are now on exhibit at Lawrence’s Wriston Art Center and will remain there through March 11, 2022.
Bell, Alexandra, "Counternarratives" (2022). Convocations. 17.