2022 Summer Group Show Open Call: “Tell Me More About Yourself (Self-Portraits and other Autobiographical Endeavors)”


“Tell Me More About Yourself” is an exhibition that will focus on both old and new interpretations of the ever-present self-portrait, as well as other works that are confessional or autobiographical in nature.

Like portraits of others, self-portraits often capture likeness in relation to time, place, and life events. They can be emblematic or symbolic of things the artist believes in, oftentimes saying more about the artist than the artist themselves would. And therein lies the biggest difference: Neither portrait or self-portrait are required to depict a person in order to be about a person. Self-portraits may not be exact depictions, but they are always about the artist who creates them. For this reason self-portraits too can be emotionally complicated objects that pose many questions: In what ways has the artist imbued their own image with meaning that transcends figuration or exact representation? Why does an artist continue to engage with self-portraits beyond their academic purpose? In what ways can a self-portrait eschew figurative or even human likeness altogether?

Making oneself into one’s own subject often requires that the artist set aside their own self-perception in order to create work that isn’t precious or capricious in its presentation of the artist as subject, and whatever else the artist wishes to convey in their presentation of themselves as subject. Therefore the goal of “Tell Me More About Yourself” is for artists to present any work they feel depicts and reflects them and their thoughts. It’s not about filling up Gallery Aferro’s walls with paintings that stare back at the viewer (as interesting as that would be), but to present artists with a chance to exhibit works that may or may not depict themselves but that are still considered self-portraits or are autobiographical in nature.

Submissions of all media are welcome for review as long as they fit through our front door (84x36in).

Artists selected will have their artworks on view at Gallery Aferro from June 25, 2022 – August 5, 2022, with an opening reception on Saturday June 25, 2022 from 6-9PM.

This open call is available from March 16, 2022 – April 30, 2022.


The mission of Gallery Aferro is to function as a platform for the exchange of ideas in service of advancing human dignity and beauty, with a focus on visual arts as the vehicle, proudly located in Newark, NJ.

Gallery Aferro is an artist-owned alternative arts space located in the heart of Newark, New Jersey’s downtown district. Founded in 2003, it is home to two major public exhibition spaces in a 20,000 sq. ft. building at 73 Market Street, offering exhibitions, interactive sound installations, events, an extensive community book room, and a year-round studio residency program.


João (Juno) Zago is a queer visual artist working in Newark, NJ. Born in Brazil, Zago came to the US in 2005 where he’s since lived in and around Newark. In 2016 he obtained his BA in Visual Art from Ramapo College of New Jersey. He’s been an artist-in-residence at Gallery Aferro in Newark, NJ, since 2017, and has exhibited throughout New Jersey and in New York State. He is a recipient of the 2020 Newark Artist Accelerator Fund. This is his inaugural solo curatorial project at Gallery Aferro after co-curating “Victor Davson: The Misogyny Papers/Apology” with Cynthia Hawkins, Ph.D. in 2021.

Application Deadline:2022-04-30
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