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Dangerous Fruit

Bri Mellott's show draws from art and poetry

 Where art and feminism intersect: Words that sum up BRI MELLOTT’s artwork. Art teacher, artist, and activist, Mellott is an influential voice in the growing social and human rights community in Wilmington.

She started drawing and working with ink and other mediums as a teen. Her work started to blossom, and she ultimately created Bri Mellott Scribbles – a sticker line of drawings with powerful quotes and sayings for women.

Her show, Goblin Fruit & Other Stories, debuted January 4 and runs through mid-March at 24 South Coffee Shop.

“Coffee shops are the only place people sit still and wait anymore,” Mellott says.

Goblin Fruit features pieces in which women are exemplified as fruit. Through the show, Mellott aims to push social norms and boundaries, by saying that women are more than coveted sinful objects. The show is a “celebration of women comfortable in their own skin” and aims to empower women and girls of all backgrounds and walks of life.

The title of the show is pulled from a line from Christina Rossetti’s 1859 poem Goblin Market.

In the poem, two sisters resist the calls of goblins in the nearby woods, promising all manner of delicious fruit.

Mellott plays on the theme of fruit being dangerous to women in stories.

“Eve and her apple, Persephone and the pomegranate – women are constantly portrayed as not able to enjoy a simple piece of fruit, to resist temptation or risk damnation,” Mellott says.

But, Goblin Fruit is more than just artwork. Mellott has been writing poetry and stories since she was in high school. The show weaves together poetry and writing on fruit, gardening, and girlhood.

Mellott’s hope is after viewing the art, the narrative and depiction around women and girls will start to shift from that of flowers to strong trees.

Mellott grew up watching generations of women work in gardens and grow life with their bare hands. Just like the fruit sprouting, femininity is deeply rooted in growth.

Mellott incorporates everything in the show from tomatoes to pomegranates, showing their resiliency, their story, and the journey it took to grow them.

"My hope is for young women, to re-examine the truisms they’ve been taught about gender and femininity,” says Bri Mellott.

Each piece shows softness, emotionality, irrationality – parts of a complex human experience, not the burden of one subset of us.

Later on, Mellott and longtime artist friend, HEATHER DIVOKY, will collaboratively share the exhibit space during March at 24 South. Their work will sit next to each other at the coffee shop and speak in artist conversation.

“I love to examine the ways that the artist has created their images,” Mellott says, “love to find the weird pieces they’ve secreted into the corner, the symbolism they didn’t realize anyone would notice.” 

Goblin Fruit & Other Stories

Works by Wilmington artist BRI MELLOTT

24 South Coffee Shop | 24 South Front Street

Reception: 5-8 p.m. February 22


To view more of photographer River Bondurant’s work, go to riverbondurant.myportfolio.com.


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