Exhibition Open Calls

Summer Group Show Open Call

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.

About the curator:

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. 

About “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 be contacted by May 25, 2022, and 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 – May 7, 2022. 


Be prepared to submit the following items via our submission form

  • Full Name
  • Artist’s Name (if different from your Full Name)
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number

Only send the following submission documents as attachments (examples: .doc, .pdf, Google Drive files, .jpgs, .png, etc. Please do not send oversized files like .tiff, .psd, or Word docs from Pages).

  • CV/Resumé
  • 3rd person Artist Statement & Biography
  • Up to 5 Artwork Submissions. (high-res images 300dpi, Youtube/Vimeo links, video files up to 10MB) (We recommend titling artwork files with the following information: Artist Last Name_Artwork Title_Year)
  • Image List with the following information for all artwork submissions: Filename, Title, Medium, Dimensions, Edition if applicable, Year, Price/Not For Sale/Price Upon Request (if applicable, for sculptures or installations also include installation instructions)
  • $10 USD*** submission fee via the following Paypal link: 

Summer Show Open Call Submission Fee


*** If you cannot afford this fee, please contact Juno Zago for a waiver at jzago@aferro.org. We do not believe in artist gouging and ask for this small fee only as part of our overall, diversified activities to support our nonprofit programs within the community.

Applicants are encouraged to stop by during gallery hours, Wednesday – Saturday / 12 – 6pm, to look at our main gallery. After April 1, this will be by appointment only.  

Feel free to email us with questions or other information you may need at jzago@aferro.org of info@aferro.org.

The deadline for submitting your work to the “Tell Me More About Yourself (Self-Portraits and other Autobiographical Endeavors)” open call is 11:59PM on Saturday, May 7, 2022.