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"Letting the Body Lead" MFA Thesis Show: Amanda Boggs

MFA Exhibition by Amanda Boggs

Letting the Body Lead focuses on understanding lived experiences within the body and questions the ways movement theorizes corporeal, individual, and social identity. The exhibition presents video works that document improvisatory, movement-based experimentation including a large-scale video installation titled These Embodied Walls. This work speaks to the capacity for embodied empathy as bodies engage in collaboratively navigating large, heavy spinning walls. Letting the Body Lead also features a series of smaller-scale video works, Mom at Lake Terramuggus, Basketball Court/Playground Spinner, and Mom and I, Red Coats, that document more individual movement practices in outdoor spaces.

The work included in the exhibition rests in a liminal space as the world shifts between a pre-pandemic and post-outbreak state. It was created before a whisper of the pandemic was heard and will be exhibited as the pandemic still rages across the world. Letting the Body Lead exemplifies and amplifies the ways our bodies collectively negotiate space, breath, and movement in more constrictive ways. In the video installation, These Embodied Walls, bodies move and breathe within a shared, enclosed space. The smaller-scale videos document individual movement practices in outdoor, open spaces and are well suited to be done safely as we grapple with embodiment in the midst of a pandemic.

About the Artist

As a photographer and videographer, I strive to communicate vital truths about my subjects.  Issues of social justice are central to my work. I focus on individuals and families who have been disenfranchised by social, economic, and racial disparities and discrimination. I have created and produced photo editorials, photo books, and short documentaries. 

As an educator, my goal is to use the creative process to empower my students through the exploration of  their own personal narratives. I teach student-centered and project-based photography, film, creative movement, and acting in both inner city schools and private schools.

As an arts administrator, I focus on building community partnerships in the arts, designing art shows and auctions, organizing professional development, and supporting curriculum development. As the Specialist of the Arts for the DC Public School System, I launched their first Digital Media Arts program including eight digital labs and organized professional development opportunities in the digital media arts. 

In my personal work, my passion is working with physical movement influenced by my background in  physical theater, dance,sports, and acting.  My work as a harness-based, aerial performer in the Off-Broadway show "De La Guarda" reinforced my interest in working outsides the bounds of traditional theater.  My figurative work is improvisational, collaborative, and site-specific.

Visual images have the power to transform the way we see others and ourselves. In my work as artist and teacher, my goal is to open the viewer to universality of our shared experiences and challenge the viewer to see the world in a new light effect positive change and social justice. 

--- from the artist's website

Visitors to Herter Art Gallery are asked to maintain proper social distancing protocols and wear a mask at all times. The gallery is open Mondays and Fridays from 1:00-3:00 p.m., Thursdays from 2:00-4:00 p.m. and by appointment. To enter the building, please call the gallery at (413) 545-0976.

This exhibition was made possible with generous support from the UMass Arts Council and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public as well as to all Five College students, faculty, and staff. For further questions, please contact the gallery at


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