Immersive pop-up shop takes attendees into more than 20 art installations

Media Credit: Molly Kaiser | Staff Photographer

The exhibit features 29 rooms that each display work from artists and activists.

An immersive exhibition unveiling visual art from activists and artists opened up a temporary location in the District Friday.

“29 Rooms: Expand Your Reality” is a pop-up museum on display at the D.C. Armory through Oct. 27. Inside the exhibit, 29 individual rooms are set up in a large warehouse with a different art installation featured in every room.

The digital publication Refinery29 debuted the project in 2015 and it has since made rounds to cities like New York City and Los Angeles, adding Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago and D.C. to the mix this year. The exhibition features work from more than 10 artists and activist organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Colombian-American singer Kali Uchis and local artists Trap Bob and Jamea Richmond-Edwards.

Attendees can snap selfies with eye-catching installations, like the “Values Stand” produced by the ACLU. The project mimics a newsstand, with a newspaper featuring the headline “SNACKS NEWS SODA RIGHTS.” Mock soda cans placed on the counters sport phrases like “Racial. Justice. Now,” “Equal Work. Equal Pay” and “Families Belong Together.”

Uchis, the singer, produced a piece called “Dream Doorways,” which invites viewers to take a look inside what she sees during her dreams. The installation is composed of a black and white checkered floor, several red doorways arranged in a circle and a dreamy cloud backdrop.

Tenbeete Solomon, also known as Trap Bob, is a local artist, illustrator and animator who produced a piece in the exhibition called “Stairway to Your Dreams.” The piece was inspired by her own self journey, in which she decided to pursue a career in art during her last year of college at the University of Maryland after majoring in business.

“Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it’s like falling in love, and I could’ve fallen in love earlier,” she said. “So hopefully, some kids get to fall in love and follow their dreams.”

Solomon’s work features a 10-foot-high staircase in front of a black background and small white stars. Multicolored hands reaching toward the sky cover the piece. As you climb up the stairs, the words “Follow Your Dreams” are printed on each step.

Trap Bob said she likes to incorporate hands into her pieces because they are a universal image. She added that she appreciates the complexity and social consciousness of the installations.

“It’s like you’re going into another world for a little while, you wouldn’t even think you’re in the Armory unless you look up at the flags or something,” she said. “This completely transformed the space, and it feels like while you’re in here that anything is possible.”

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.