Chanel Thervil's ENIGMA: Reactions to Racism, open at Urbano Project on February 5

  • BOSTON, Massachusetts
  • /
  • February 04, 2019

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Chanel Thervil, ENIGMA: Reactions to Racism
Courtesy of the artist.

ENIGMA: Reactions to Racism, a mixed-media solo exhibition by Urbano Project’s spring 2019 Artist-in-Residence Chanel Thervil, will be on view February 5 - May 3, with an opening celebration Thursday, February 21, 6-8PM.

At the core of resilience is endurance; the ability to push forward despite pain. Since the beginning of America’s history, people of color have been expected to endure. Between the whispers of the civil rights movement and the glaring social justice issues revisited in the post-Obama era, there has been a societal obsession with having conversations about racism. While the actions that arise from these conversations have been hard to track and measure, they persist. One of the nuances of these conversations is the recurring focus on white intentions, pain, and confusion over their impact on people of color holding the same space. Racism can be equally awkward, perplexing, and ironic for all parties involved. Unveiling these experiences from the perspective of black millennials in Boston, ENIGMA will feature mixed media installations of portraits, abstract works, and interviews. Thervil’s exhibition is part of Urbano’s curatorial series exploring the theme of Resilience and Sustainability.

While her exhibition is on view, Thervil will lead a Youth Artist Project called The Promise of Tomorrow, asking students to wrestle with the question: If art is the conscience of society, then what do artists need to survive? Survival requires resilience, but there is no clear roadmap for artists to follow. Between the pressures of caring for your family, trying to pass your classes, and wondering who’s lurking on your Instagram, it can be hard to focus on your creativity. During this course, artists will channel the humanity in their experiences to support their ability to create 2D and 3D works of art. Key topics explored include history, self-care, and innovation. The final project will be a mixed media installation that embodies the Youth Artists' vision of what they need to make the future better for the communities they are a part of now and hope to build tomorrow. 

Youth Artists Projects are in-depth long-term artistic explorations of Urbano’s annual theme through the lens and mentorship of the Artist-in-Residence, resulting in one or more exhibitions/projects that are presented at Urbano and other public sites. 

A reception of works created during The Promise of Tomorrow residency will take place May 2. 

Urbano is open 1-6PM Tuesday-Friday and by appointment. Visit for more information.


Chanel Thervil is a Haitian-American artist and educator obsessed with all things art, pop culture, and history.

Upon roaming the halls of New York City museums as a teen, she often found herself wondering why she felt so out of place. Fueled by her lack of satisfaction with the narrow range of representations of people of color on both sides of the canvas, Chanel decided to pursue a career in art. Her love for talking about art, doing research and dragging loved ones to museums that they would never walk into otherwise, led her to completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting at Pace University and a Master's Degree in Art Education at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Recently, she's been making a splash in Boston via her public art, portraiture, and collaborations with institutions like MassArt’s Center for Art & Community Partnerships, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Boston Center for the Arts. She currently serves as the program manager at The Art Connection. Her work was featured in Nine Moments for Now at The Cooper Gallery, which Hyperallergic named one of 2018’s Top 20 Art Exhibitions in the US.  She will also have multiple works on view in the deCordova New England Biennial 2019. To learn more, visit her website:


Urbano Project is a non-profit art space that brings together practicing artists across disciplines, local youth, and community members to learn and experiment through place-based projects. Through artistic collaboration, participating youth and adults are challenged to create projects that take place both within the boundaries of our exhibition space and in the community beyond the walls of the studio. These projects span diverse artistic themes and disciplines, all rooted in the fundamental principles of collaboration, risk-taking, and creative and critical expression.

Nina Berger

Urbano Project
29 Germania Street
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
About Urbano Project

Urbano Project, located in Jamaica Plain's Brewery Complex, brings together urban youth and professional artists to ignite social change through place-based participatory art and performance projects. Together we foster future generations of creative and civic leaders committed to social justice. Support for Urbano Project is provided by Barr/Klarman Foundations, The Boston Foundation, Surdna Foundation, Mass Cultural Council, Boston Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Frank Reed and Margaret Jane Peters Memorial Fund I, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

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