Published September 16, 2019
The Junior League of Buffalo will commemorate its 100th anniversary with a sculpture created by Shasti O’Leary-Soudant, visiting professor in the Department of Art in UB’s College of Arts and Sciences, at the Burchfield Penney Art Center.
O’Leary-Soudant’s work — titled Do Not Mistake My Softness for Weakness — will stand as a tribute to the strength and power of women and girls.
A gift of the Junior League to the Burchfield Penney for all to enjoy, the sculpture design was unveiled Sept. 10. Once completed, the work will be permanently installed on the plaza outside the Burchfield Penney Art Center at SUNY Buffalo State.
O’Leary Soudant was awarded the project following an inclusive RFP process administered by a diverse, 12-member selection committee with wide-ranging backgrounds.
Comprised of six vibrantly colored sculptures ranging in height from 5 to 12 feet, each form symbolizes a transformational stop on the lifelong journey of womanhood.
“The six revolving elements represent a faceted avatar, evoking the different stations of feminine power, progression, and metamorphosis: From youth to old age, naivety to wisdom, timidity to courage, obedience to defiance, stoicism to exuberance,” says O’Leary-Soudant. “Do Not Mistake My Softness for Weakness speaks to the necessity to rise and claim womanhood for ourselves, in whatever way we see fit. The sculpture is my ode to our eternal becoming.”
The work will be fabricated in Buffalo by Rigidized Metals, which collaborated with the UB School of Architecture and Planning to create the Burchfield Penney’s three 24-foot stainless steel projection towers in the Front Yard gallery.
O’Leary-Soudant is a transdisciplinary artist, designer and writer who has exhibited internationally and is in private and public collections across the country.
She designed "Gut Flora," the public art installation that features gigantic appendages of explosively bright color housed in the Allen-Medical Metro Rail station inside the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB.