multimedia with a conscience Published by Conscience Media Productions, Inc. copyright 2010 Vol. 5 issue 1
PO BOX 163828 Columbus, OH 43216 614.432.8517 803. 767.4300 firstname.lastname@example.org www.TheConsciousVoice.com
Well it's a new year and definitely a new season and I'm still very excited to be working in one of the fastest changing industries there is - media. Beyond the challenges, technological advances have opened up new opportunities, new relationships and new markets. It is still a time of survival of the fittest, but I encourage you to do what we have done, and embrace it. During a market slow down, you can do one of two things: you can lay down and be overcome by the uncontrollable challenges of change - or you can accept the changes, pray, rework your plan and stand up and fight. That’s what we chose to do. We are very happy to be celebrating our fifth year, while expanding into new markets. We realize that old relationships will die, but new ones will be born. We still believe the best is yet to come! We chose Muhammad Ali for our first 2010 cover, because he, more than any other individual featured, embodies the spirit that we want to celebrate. It is the spirit of one that is bold, beautiful, competent, unapologetic and unashamedly Black. This is how Ali lived. It is why he became known as “The Greatest.” In consultation with our editorial team, we looked at what is trending now, and found that 'Black is the New Black.' We are now in a season of a new appreciation for all things AfricanInspired. When we say African, we are referring to all people of the worldwide African Diaspora - from the continent of Africa, to people of colour in South America, England, the West Indies, Canada and beyond….to just plain ‘ole Black American folk, like me. It is akin to an African-Inspired Renaissance. This celebration is influencing all aspects of the marketplace: art, fashion, architecture, style, home design, politics and media. We believe the celebration is, in part, because of the Obama family. Having an affluent African American family in the White House and on CNN 24/7, has caused the world to finally realize what people of colour have known all along - that the general market is multicultural. As always, enjoy, and feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com.
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“Muhammad Ali,” 1970 by Gordon Parks, from the exhibition, Bare Witness: Photographs by Gordon Parks, now on view at the Toledo Museum of Art until April 25, 2010. ToledoMuseum.org The show features 77 works by the late Parks, renown director of the hit motion picure Shaft and staff photographer for Life magazine.
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William R. Sands is the President and Creative Director of ethniciti. This interior design and events consulting agency, develops residential and commercial projects. With over 20 years of experience, Sands is keenly aware of the natural and historic fusion of cultures and how they form a creative point of view. He describes ethniciti as, “a lifestyle - a state of mind and spirit which defines a new level of thinking and feeling inspired by the influences and richness of African culture.” Sands has worked with retailers and manufacturers in the US, Canada, Germany, UK, Finland, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and the Caribbean.
“Muhammad Ali,” 1970 Cibachrome, 20 x 16 inches. Lent by The Capital Group Foundation, 2003.09 © 2006 The Gordon Parks Foundation Donna Marbury is a freelance journalist based in Columbus, OH. She also runs a boutique public relations and communications firm called Donna Marie Public Relations (DMPR). Through DMPR, she assists clients with business communications ranging from print editorial and promotional services to marketing, public relations and Social Media. DMPR specializes in effective communications targeting the mature urban market.
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Janel Perry, Founder & Publisher
A New Season A New Economy A New Outlook warrants a new voice with a new approach
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Your VOICE for ART, CULTURE, LIFE & STYLE from the Midwest to the East Coast to the South East TheConsciousVoice.com
Wil LaVeist is a professional speaker and award-winning journalist and author of “Fired Up.” He is the founding executive producer of BlackVoices.com, a former metro columnist for the Daily Press of Hampton Roads and editor and publisher of MIX Magazine formally of The Virginian-Pilot. He writes a weekly column and blogs for the New Journal & Guide (www.TheGuide-VA.com), one of America’s oldest continuously publishing Black newspapers. Reach him at www.WILLAVEIST.com or LE@LAVEIST.com
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Fashion Goes South Charleston Fashion Week makes designers and southern city shine
by Janel Perry
Charleston, South Carolina and Fashion Week - are words you generally don't hear in the same sentence. But don’t tell that to Charleston Magazine. Or they will probably tell you (tongue in cheek) that: In 2007, they launched a fashion week to celebrate the region’s retail and design community. In just four years, Charleston Fashion Week (CFW) has become the biggest fashion event in the southeast, drawing more than 5,000; it has launched the careers of emerging fashion designers and was named a Top 20 Event for March by the Southeast Tourism Society. The fourth annual CFW will be held March 16-20, 2010 and will feature more than 30 runway shows, the Emerging Designer Competition, Rock The Runway Model Competition, a Style Lounge, the Catwalk for Kids auction and luncheon, the Stiletto Stampede, the Bridal Couture Show, and of course, a number of chic after-parties. So how did they do it? Everything starts with a vision. Ayoka Lucas is the Style Editor for Charleston Magazine and creative director of CFW. She knew that the local fashion community was ready for this type of event, but was unsure about the larger community. “This is a food and arts town,” she said. “So I wasn’t sure if they would love fashion.” Her doubts were unfounded. She approached her management and they got behind the project. It was full steam ahead - just four months from idea to the first event. “It was a huge success,” she said. “Having tents packed for 5 nights is hard - but we did it.” CFW is the right event, at the right time, in the right city. “Charleston is a huge draw,” Lucas said. “It’s a historic, romantic, sleepy town, with a great deal of cultural history.”
"Charleston Fashion Week is an event that completely transforms the city." - Ayoka Lucas,
Carol Hannah Whitfield debuted her line after being named an Emerging Designer finalist at CFW in 2008. In 2009 she was a finalist on Project Runway. This year, she will launch her bridal collection.
Project Runway finalist and fan favorite, Mychael Knight will serve on this years CFW fashion panel as well show his new line.
Style Editor, Charleston Magazine, Creative Director, Charleston Fashion Week
Chalmers Street in downtown Charleston where the thoroughfare is still lined with cobblestones. Three photos courtesy of Charleston CVB.
Charleston’s distinctive regional cuisine, an important component of the Charleston scene, is being celebrated throughout the country.
The event is produced and styled like Bryant Park, turning Marion Square into a fashion tent city. “The challenge of being in the south is that people would immediately question....the best reward is when people walk into the tents and their jaws drop. It is an authentic fashion week! People are blown away because you feel the same energy as Bryant Park, but delivered with southern charm. Charleston Fashion Week is an event that completely transforms the city." Now Charleston is on the map for fashion. The city, whose beaches draw hundreds of thousands of visitors, has always been on the national radar for tourism. Check out the stats: Charleston was ranked the fourth best city in America, by Travel + Leisure Magazine’s World’s Best Awards 2009 readers’ survey. Three Charleston properties were also named in the same poll as Top 100 Hotels in the US/Canada division. For the seventeenth consecutive year, readers of Condé Nast Traveler Magazine designated Charleston a "Top 10" travel destination in the U.S. No. 2 on the list, Charleston was topped only by San Francisco, maintaining its’ spot as the No. 1 east coast destination. So readers of travel magazines have known for years, what CFW is helping the world to recognize for the first time. The beaches are great, but when it come to food, art and fashion, Charleston is a hot spot. "Charleston is a premier shopping destination that delivers a great shopping experience," Lucas said. Adding that “Vogue Magazine” listed the southern enclave, also known as the "Holy City" in the Top 8 for glamour. The emerging designers of CFW are also gaining national attention while the competition has proved to be a career springboard. 2008 Emerging Designer finalist, Carol Hannah Whitfield, was chosen for season 6 of Lifetime's hit TV show, Project Runway, where she made it to the Bryant Park finale. Local retail designer, Gordana Gelhausen, a 2008 CFW participant, was also chosen for season 6 of Project Runway. Whitfield will return to CFW this year, to launch her bridal line.
Designer Cynthia Rowley, will be a fashion panelist, as well as another Project Runway finalist, Mychael Knight who will show his new line. Eight semifinalist from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida, have been chosen to début their spring collections on opening night. Three finalists will advance to the design challenge which culminates on Saturday, March 20th.
The Charleston Harbor has been a thriving place of business and leisure. Sailboats of all shapes, sizes, and colors dot the seascape.
Lucas' advice for aspiring producers of major events like Charleston Fashion Week: "I am a visionary, but Charleston Magazine made this possible," she said. "Don’t make the mistake of sitting on your vision. Talk to other big thinkers in the community and the right people will come on board. All successes start with a risk." Visit www.charlestonfashionweek.com
New this year is the Rock the Runway Model Competition where ten models will compete LIVE. The tents have been reinvented to include a revolving
STYLE Lounge where attendees can purchase from a new array of accessories each night. The number of shows have also increased. "Last year, we had 5-6 shows per night and an after party every single night," Lucas said. "This year we will have 8 shows per night."
The Carol Hannah Whitfield Collection from CFW 2008
Cordially Invites You to
Sewn Together: American Jews in the Garment Industry A Special Presentation by
of the Yeshiva University, NYC
May 5, 2010, 7PM Columbus Jewish Community Center FGI Cultural Series Programming, in partnership with the Columbus Jewish Historical Society and OSU's historic costume and textiles collection. Columbus.FGI.org EBONY Fashion Fair Model
June 5-12, 2010 clevelandfashionweek.com
April 4, 1916 – Jan. 3, 2010 Producer-Director, EBONY Fashion Fair – world’s largest traveling fashion show Secretary-Treasurer, Johnson Publishing Company Inc. – the world's largest Black-owned publishing company
The beloved Eunice Johnson was a fashion, beauty and business icon. As creator of the Ebony Fashion Fair, she encouraged the world to see African American woman as stylish, sophisticated and affluent. The celebrated annual tour of nearly 200 cities showcased haute couture and ready-to-wear fashion for more than 50 years, raising $55 million for civil rights groups and scholarships. Johnson was among the first Blacks to buy from French fashion houses and bring noted designers like Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Oscar de la Renta to runways in the US, Canada and Caribbean. The show also nurtured the careers of notable Black models and designers. When she grew tired of mixing makeup colors to match the varied skin tones of her models, she creatred her own. In 1973, she founded Fashion Fair Cosmetics, a prestige line that African-American women could buy, for the first time, in major department stores. It was so successful, within three years, Revlon, Avon and Max Factor followed suit and launched lines for black skin. When her husband, the late, John H. Johnson, founded a magazine in 1945, it was Mrs. Johnson who suggested that the magazine, geared to black readers, be named for the fine-grain dark wood, “Ebony.”
ife in Harlem, is up close, personal and in living colour, thanks to Romare Bearden!
His vibrant, mural-size tableau, The Block (1971) and related sketches and photographs are now being featured at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Block, an ambitious 18-foot-long collage, celebrates the Harlem neighborhood in New York City that nurtured and inspired so much of the artist's life and work. Bearden (1911–1988) is best known for the colorful cut-paper collages that he began making in the 1960s. Elaborate works such as The Block (1971) elevated this genre to a major art
Obama HOPE, by Shepard Fairey, 2008, Mixed media stencil collage on paper, 72 x 48 in., Courtesy of Obey Giant Art
"The Block" Overall: 48 x 216 in. (121.9 x 548.6 cm); six panels, each: 48 x 36 in. Cut and pasted printed, colored and metallic papers, photostats, pencil, ink marker, gouache, watercolor, and pen and ink on Masonite. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Shore, 1978 © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
form through its unusual materials, expressionist color, abstracted forms, flattened shapes and spaces, and shifts in perspective and scale - all the while maintaining focus on the human narrative being told within a single city block. Bearden described The Block in 1971: "…I was intrigued by the series of houses I could see from [the] windows. Their colors, their forms, and the lives they contained within their walls
fascinated me. When I sketched this block, I was looking at a particular street (Lenox Avenue between 132nd and 133rd. streets), but as I translated itinto visual form it became something else I lost the literalness and moved into where my imagination took me." Bearden's collage technique - a mixture of bold colors, large and small shapes, and diverse patterns - captures the energy of city life. Visit www.metmuseum.org. Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Paul Pfeiffer, (28), (below) 2007, Fujiflex digital Chromogenic print 48 x 60 in. Courtesy of the artist and The Project, New York, from Hard Targets, on view at the Wexner Center for the Arts.
Untitled, (left) by Kara Walker, 1998, Cut paper and a dhesive, 55 x 32 inches, Collection of the Progressive Corporation, on view in From Then to Now: Masterworks of Contemporary African American Art, MOCA Cleveland
His iconic Barack Obama poster inspired an entire generation to "Hope." Now street artist turned political provocateur, Shepard Fairey, is getting his first solo show. Shepard Fairey: Supply and Demand, is now on view at Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) until August 22, 2010. The show is an extensive exploration of the artists’ 20-year career, and is mounted in two parts: the CAC’s galleries will house 250 pieces from his early Andre the Giant work to the iconic Obama HOPE image to new mixed-media works and a large-format mural in the lobby; External murals are at sites throughout Greater Cincinnati. Show curator at the CAC, said they 'hope the show, will address important social and political questions and stimulate invigorating discussion.' In true Fairey style, the community has been invited to participate through the external projects. www.contemporaryartscenter.org
Art and sports have collided and Hard Targets, is the result. On view at the Wexner Center for the Arts until April 11, 2010, this multimedia exhibition includes videos, photographs, paintings, sculptures, and installations by 21 artists who've created work surrounding sports and masculinity. It's funny, irreverent, sexy, poignant and a must see! "Athletes have become sacred, and somewhat of a material commodity in our culture," said Christopher Bedford, curator. The topics explored include the objectification of the male body, gender, sexuality as well as fan consumption of sports stars and athletic events. Artist David Hammons uses the basketball as a brush, vintage Nike Jordan Trainers have been reconstructed with Native American materials, while photographic subjects include athletes from Bexley High School. Visit www.wexarts.org.
Three Graces, by Yinka Shonibare, MBE, (left) 2001, three life-size fiberglass, mannequins, Dutch wax printed cotton, Collection of The Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky, purchased with funds from the Alice Speed Stoll Accessions Trust, Image: Courtesy of The Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky.
There is a central theme running through some major 2010 exhibitions all across the country. While sports and masculinity are the over-arching subjects... stereotypes, commercialism and race lie just beneath the surface of Hard Targets, on view at the Wexner Center. Street artist, Shepard Fairey, named this year's official Grammy Artist, is widely known for cultural iconography. His work reaches across generational, political and economic divides, and is now on view at Cincinnati’s CAC. Kara Walker is among the artists currently featured at MOCA Cleveland. Listed among Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World, Artists and Entertainers, Walker's silhouette images, depict African American slaves during the Antebellum South and raise identity and gender issues.
iona rozeal brown: all falls down, now on view at MOCA Cleveland, is a cultural sampling of African American hip hop culture and Japanese art history. It seems as though institutions across the U.S. and throughout the rest of the world, are finally ready to have real conversations about race - and apparently, art is the entrée. Is it the ‘Obama Effect?’ Possibly! Whatever the case….everyone: negro dialect or none, light-skinned or dark, secret n-word, users or open...can be included in these conversations, once relegated to the back room of the bedroom. Pattern ID, on view at the Akron Art Museum through May 9, 2010, calls attention to the fact that cultural identity is not so clear-cut. It centers around the notion that we all have a Pattern ID, whether we know it or not. It is
revealed in the clothing we wear and the interiors with which we surround ourselves. Damask silk, Indian brocade and Burberry plaid, each carry specific cultural associations. The aesthetic choices we make every day communicate subtle and not so subtle messages about who we are and where we’ve come from - our cultural identities. Forty works and 17 artists including, Mark Bradford, iona rozeal brown, Willie Cole and Kehinde Wiley comprise Pattern ID. The artists cross boundaries of time, place, culture and gender to interweave their histories with those of others. From headless mannequins dressed in Afro-Victorian garb to paintings made entirely of Indian bindis, each artist places these patterns into new contexts to offer insight into complex cultural relationships. Visit www.akronartmuseum.org
iona rozeal brown
Han Gaku") (2007) provide a sense of Yoshi's fiery personality. Confident, courageous, and sincere, Yoshi embodies the qualities that brown hopes to inspire in young women and men today. This Japanese-Black fusion has been the focus of brown’s work for quite some time. It was at the San Francisco Art Institute, where she received her B.F.A. in Painting, that brown first learned about the ganguro - fashion-conscious Japanese teenagers who want to look cool, black and American, much like heir hip-hop idols. These teenagers dress in funky clothes, dye and braid their hair in cornrows and darken their skin at tanning salons or with makeup. Ganguro, literally ''black face,'' has its roots in the mid-1990's and grew parallel with the popularity of hip-hop in Japan.
Artists' blend of Japanese and Black culture proves to be winning combination
When brown traveled to Japan, she met members of the ganguro tribe in person. The experience inspired a new body of work. “So many things happened to me in Japan,” she said. “I got this sense of their understanding that ideas come from another world,” she said. Brown describes the characters in her new body of work as ‘not fully human,’ and says she was inspired by ‘Octavia Butler and West African and Japanese ghost stories.‘
The Midwest is, apparently, good ground for Maryland-based artist, iona rozeal brown. Her first Midwest solo museum show and the first museum presentation of her brand new work is all taking place, right now, at MOCA Cleveland. iona rozeal brown: all falls down is now on view at MOCA Cleveland until May 9, 2010. The exhibition features 15 visually stunning and conceptually rich figurative paintings. Ranging in tone from playful and whimsical to raw and unsettling, this vibrant series takes brown's cultural sampling of African American hip-hop culture and Japanese art history to new levels. iona rozeal brown: all falls down received the 2009 Joyce Award in Visual Art, which supports new commissions for artists of color. As part of the award, MOCA commissioned brown to create new paintings, based in part, on Japanese Ukiyo-e prints from the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, as well as to complete a residency with Cleveland-area high school students. In this new work, brown creates a "journey of the hero(ine)" narrative filled with complex characters and the 'path of a hero.' One particularly resonant character in this series is Yoshi, an enlightened warrior who communicates with divine spirits but remains on the earthly realm to guide young mortal spirits. Paintings like King Kata #3: peel out (after Yoshitoshi's "Incomparable Warriors:Woman
“…hold on…” –Erykah Badu, 2009 by iona rozeal brown (above) Mixed media on framed panel 60 x 48 in. Courtesy of the artist and Robert Goff Gallery
Yoshi, the enlightened warrior, is also the main character featured in the community outreach residency project at MOCA Cleveland. Last year, a jury selected nine high school students from the Progressive Arts Alliance's 2009 RHAPSODY Hip Hop Summer Camp and the Visual Communications Arts Class at Shaw High School in East Cleveland. Early this year, brown worked with this group of students to produce a Japanese screen and a site-specific wall painting in MOCA's Dr. Gerald and Phyllis Seltzer Rotunda Gallery.
The Japanese screen includes both a landscape painting by brown and rhymes written by the students that relate their experiences as teenagers in today's complex world. The wall painting features an enormous Yoshi in the pose of a character from Yoshitoshi's Tsuji Ya Hyoe Morimasa (1869), a print from the Allen Memorial Art Museum's collection. Yoshi's cape contains images created by the student apprentices that range from animeinspired drawings to abstract designs. brown has created a limited edition multiple for MOCA based (l-r) King Kata #3: peel out (after Yoshitoshi's "Incomparable Warriors: Woman Han Gaku") 2007; King Kata #4: resist on the character, Yoshi.
(after Yoshitoshi's Fuwa Bansaku) 2007 by iona rozeal brown, Mixed media on framed panel, 51 1/2 x 62 in.
RELATED EVENTS kaatchi, the incubator, 2008 by iona rozeal brown Mixed media on framed panel Diptych: 62 x 100 in. (62 x 50 in. each) March 12, 2010, 7 - 9PM Keepin' it "Reel" - Celebrating the iona rozeal brown residency project in video, music, and dance FREE and open to the public This youth-focused event includes a screening of two new videos about brown’s work: a MOCA-produced documentary short about brown’s residency project with eight local high school students, and a video produced by Shaw High School in response to iona’s new work. The Progressive Arts Alliance All-Stars will perform live. April 21, 2010, 8PM JAZZ: Omar Sosa Afreecanos Quartet. Pianist Omar Sosa and his Afreecanos Quartet will take the stage at MOCA as part of the annual collaboration with Tri-C’s Jazzfest. Sosa’s compositions are known for their exploration of African and Latin music as they combine modern jazz harmonies with the latest in electronic music. Advance ticket purchase recommended. MOCA Members call 216.987.4049 to purchase discounted tickets.
April 14, 2010 7PM CIM@MOCA: Harmonic Hues FREE and open to the public The CIM New Music Ensemble will present their second concert at MOCA Cleveland in conjunction with the exhibition From Then to Now: Masterworks of Contemporary African-American Art. The program will feature fascinating musical compositions by Keith Fitch, Eugene O’Brien, and Igor Stravinsky. Begin the night with a tour of MOCA’s captivating galleries, then stay for a reception and mingle with the evening’s extraordinary musicians. April 16, 2010, 6 PM Distinguished Artist Lecture: Willie Cole FREE and open to the public Visit MOCACleveland.org
Ghanaian-born artist Kwaku "Absku" Ofori-Yirenkyi as been called the next Jean Michel Basquiat. His 'Migration Series" is personal and political, while beautiful and chaotic. A blend traditional Ghanaian and contemporary Western cultural influences, it and explores the multitude of identities that result from migration as part of the African Diaspora.
Complexities of Migration, 2007, Mixed Media, 54 x 75 in.
Complex Beauty apparent in artists' merger of Ghanaian and American culture What is the story of your family’s migration from Ghana to the U.S? My family moved to the U.S for a better life. My parents strongly believe in education as the key to making it in this world. They wanted their kids to have better chances in a competitive world. My mother moved to pursue her masters and doctorate degrees in
Ofori-Yirenkyi divides time between Columbus, OH and Washington, DC. Pictured above with 'Perfect Imperfection, 2000, oil on canvas. Communication at Ohio University in 1990, that is where our story of migration begua. My father migrated to the United States in 1992. My sister and I joined them in 1994 when I was 12 years old. Both of my parents have repatriated to Ghana but we have lived in both Athens and Columbus, Ohio, Iowa, Connecticut, and then Virginia.
What kind of ‘culture shock’ did you experience? The challenge of our new surroundings and the loss of the familiar environment was a huge cultural shock. I landed on the American soil in late August, a few days before school started. I had spent the previous six years in a boarding school, so the beginning of life in America was filled with feelings of helplessness, and sometimes confusion. The educational system was hard for me, but I eventually adjusted. We are still not use to the climate change. The move was filled with many new discoveries. Notably, Ghanaian culture practices collectivism and America is more about the individual. This was a bit of shock to realize that the sense of community is vastly different in that aspect.
an artist and world very
makes my view different from
of the others.
What is it like to have to assume a Third Culture? Third culture is a term my mother used in reference to my sister and I when we first came to the states. Ghana is my first culture and American is my (learned) second culture, but because I can’t fully claim either culture, the two combine to become a “Third culture”. Characteristics of both American and Ghanaian cultures surfaced at various times in the beginning. I was always the new kid in places where there were a few people with my skin color and cultural make up. So I assumed a Third culture to validate my own experiences. I started signing my artwork under the name “AbExplain the personal ‘complexities’ of migration? stract” then it later became “Absku”, which is just the word The complexity of migration for me was the struggle to abstract and Kwaku put together to represent my third culassimilate and still retain my Ghanaian culture. Migration tural status. I strive to express that duality in my artwork. is chaotic. It is especially distracting in those formative adolescent and teenage years. I was constantly and still What do you hope to communicate through the sometimes very homesick. With the exception of, Colum- Migration Series? bus, OH and Virginia, I didn’t know of any Ghanaians in the Immigration is a very controversial and political issue with places that we lived. Those years, I remember feeling very what I feel is a negative undertone to it at the moment. detached from both cultures, but still wanting to belong. Immigration is as American as apple pie, and we cannot fully understand our past or control our future without knowing something about our past. America is a nation Explain the ‘beauty’ ? Migration has truly been a beautiful struggle - In the made up of immigrants and a lot of the stories remain unearly days, when we first arrived, I just felt lost. But it told. I wanted the series to express the many struggles that opened up the opportunity to learn about other cul- immigrants face and to put emphasis on the stages of astures by becoming somewhat of a social chameleon. similation my family went through. It was very important I socialized with Americans and also with other im- for me that the Adinkra Migration Series be biographical migrants who were experiencing the same issues as but at the same time having a universal appeal as well. my family. Being an immigrant with a different cul- Each painting has an identity with chaotic movements tural makeup, helped me with forming relationships between remembered spaces. Symbols and proverbs are and attitudes in my formative years, as a person and as rendered in colors of the American (continued on pg. 12)
Armed with a degree in Fine Arts and Graphic Design from Mt. Mercy College, Ofori-Yirenkyi set out to expresses the plight of people in the African Diaspora - his inspiration was the original Migration Series by Jacob Lawrence.
Hope Takes Charge, Mixed Media, 22 x 19 in.
Right of Passage, 2009, Mixed Media, 57 x 60 in.
I Want a Piece of the American Pie, mixed media, 24 x 27 in.
Hope and struggle shape 2009 By Donna Marbury The news that dominated the news
President Barack Obama’s Inauguration January 20, 2009 The nation began the year full of hope, as Barack Obama became the first Black president of the United States in front of a crowd of 1.8 million in Washington, D.C. Obama’s inauguration is thought to be the most viewed event in history, with record television and global internet views. The Economy Worsened The jobless rate rose higher than it has in 16 years as more homes went into foreclosure and fewer jobs were created. President Obama swiftly enacted stimulus packages to state and local governments aimed at creating and retaining jobs. Chris Brown & Rihanna February 8, 2009 Shocking photos surfaced of Rihanna bruised and beaten by boyfriend Chris Brown in a fight the night before the Grammy Awards. Radio stations boycotted Brown’s music and the young star made several media pleas of apology before releasing his third album, Graffiti in December. He plead guilty to felony assault was sentenced to five years probation and six month community service. Rihanna went on to have one of her most successful years to date and released her fourth album, Rated R in November. Swine Flu/ H1N1 Epidemic April 2009 People dawned masks in public places in fear of a new strain of influenza fist appearing Mexico, and quickly spreading across the globe. Since March more than 12,000 people died from the virus globally and the World Health Organization called the virus a pandemic. In the fall, children and adults stood in long lines across the country for vaccinations for the flu, hoping to avoid a second wave of the virus. Michael Jackson Dies June 25, 2009 The most successful and controversial performer of all time, Michael Jackson, was pronounced dead from cardiac arrest in Los Angeles after a lethal cocktail of hospital-grade sedatives. The King of Pop’s star studded funeral was held at the Staples Center and attracted close to one million fans and stars from across the globe. Jackson’s death was later ruled a homicide and Dr. Conrad Murray, his personal physician, could be charged in his death. Healthcare in America President Obama made it clear that government mandated health care was one of the only ways to solve health care disparities in the U.S. Town-hall meetings erupted with angry people who challenged and argued with legislators about the costs and services of the proposed system. The Senate passed the $871billion health care bill; it now awaits passage by the House. Precious/ The Princess & The Frog Helped Black Actresses Shine Black actresses made a mark in the movies on two different spectrums. Tony Award winner actress and singer Anika Noni Rose voiced the first African American princess in Disney’s The Princess & The Frog. Comedian Mo’Nique and newcomer Gabby Sidibe played in the heart-wrenching movie Precious, which grossed more than $44 million at the box offices and recently earned Mo’Nique a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress. Fort Hood Massacre November 5, 2009 Army doctor Major Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 and injured 30 people at a military base in Texas. Hasan is suspected to have ties to Islamic extremist and is being charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder. Tiger Woods Faces Public Ridicule Over Infidelities November 28, 2009 One of America’s highest paid and beloved athletes, golfer Tiger Woods, wrecked his Range Rover Thanksgiving night injuring himself and starting a whirlwind of rumors about infidelities. In the coming weeks, many women surfaced and the media reports spread like wildfire about Woods’ Las Vegas lifestyle and extra martial affairs off the tee. Woods canceled engagements, announced his indefinite hiatus from golf and would later offer a live televised public apology. Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan Conflict continues in both war struck areas. President Obama announced in February that most American troops would withdraw from Iraq by August 31, 2010. Afghanistan experienced its deadliest year of civilian casualties, and Obama announced that 1,000 more troops along with troops from NATO allies would be deployed to the country.
Willie Cole Lecture April 15, 2010, 6 PM at Akron Art Museum April 16, 2010, 6 PM at MOCA Cleveland FREE and Open to the public
In a series of extraordinary “scorch paintings,” canvases “branded” with the imprints of steam irons, Willie Cole has established himself a major contemporary artist. The scorch paintings reference African tribal markings, domestic labor, and personal family history and have resembled masks, slave ships, and flowers. Cole’s sculptures built from recycled objects similarly reference a broad range of cultural practices, particularly African art traditions. Cole will speak informally in the galleries about his life, his work, and his works of art on view in the exhibitions.
"Transcending Color" oil and acrylic on wood, 30 x 40, $600. Visit Rebeccadcrouch.com Prints available, on paper: 24 x 30 - $150, 30 x 40 - $200 and on canvas 22 x 28 - $300, 24 x3 0 - $450, 30 x4 0 - $600. Framing available.
by Rebecca D. Crouch, 2008
Chicago native Rebecca D. Crouch was born an artist. After receiving her B.S. in Mathematics from Howard University, she returned to the south side of Chicago to teach math to inner-city students. Her flair for art and love of teaching are united in her classroom décor and pedagogy. Heartache, forgiveness, and new beginnings are just a few of the themes prevalent in Rebecca’s work. Her emotive pieces are not only eye-catching, but also, as Picasso states, wash away from the soul the dust of everyday life. Visit Rebeccadcrouch.com
Get Fired Up! By Wil LaVeist Being fired is shocking, especially when you’re blindsided. Whenever I read about a company slashing several jobs, it usually reminds me of when I was brutally and unexpectedly fired in 2006. It was at the end of the business day. My supervisor called me into his office. He began with light talk about politics and then suddenly the mood got heavy. He pulled out a manila envelope and coldly told me that I was done. No hint that there was a problem. No warning of things to come. No performance review. Just fired. Six months earlier I had purchased a house and relocated my family from another state to take the job after the owner convinced me in her office. She said the company treated employees “like family.” Right. That moment in my supervisor’s office tossed my family into a tailspin. How would I tell my wife? How would we pay the mortgage and other bills? What do we tell the kids? Where or when will I find another job? But it is one of the best things that could’ve happened to me. I coped and learned the hard way about the importance of having a personal succession plan – that is being focused on “what’s next” as much as on “what’s now.” Fired Up is my story. Getting fired is as much a part of the employment process as getting hired. But truthfully, I was blindsided, I became very angry and got stuck there. It affected how I interacted with family and friends. Eventually, I began waking abruptly in the middle of the night and I was unable to sleep peacefully. After days of this, I discovered that God was seeking my attention. He wanted me to write it out. Writing Fired Up was cathartic. It was key to my healing process. The book is about how the book got written. A major job loss can be painful like losing a loved one. You can go through the various stages of grief. As I wrote about my journey, I discovered 4 Steps that I took to cope and get going again. I outline these steps in Fired Up. Being fired could inspire you to focus on your true life’s work. It can be a blessing in disguise. Pick up Fired Up and learn the keys to finally pursue that passion you’ve been dreaming about.
To attend work one morning only to be blindsided by a firing in the afternoon can be painful like losing a loved one. This is because in America, what we do for a living is often intimately tied to who we are. When someone you meet asks, “So, what do you do for living?” How do you answer? But like any other major crisis, being terminated can be the defining moment that actually launches you to your true destiny. Fired Up is Wil LaVeist’s personal story in honest, raw detail. He shares the FOUR STEPS he took to cope and overcome his crisis.
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Coming 2 America continued A conversation with artist Kwaku "Absku" Ofori-Yirenkyi and Ghanaian flag to illuminate our The Adinkra experiences as immigrants in America. We all have a story to tell and so I wanted to tell my family’s story using the underlining themes of stories about struggle, hope and perseverance in search of a better life. Your work has been compared to Jean Michel Basquiat – how does it feel to be compared to such an artist? It is an honor for my work to be compared to such a prolific artist as Basquiat, his Neo-Expressionist style changed the world’s conception of what constitutes as a painting. His use of color, symbols, mark making and social commentary inspires me to paint. What I really like about his work is that he makes references to urban black culture and black history, as well as the his own conflicted sense of identity being of a mixed cultural background. My work is inspired by both Ghanaian and American comntemporary cultures. I consider my work an impression and expression of traditional Ghanaian and contemporary Western cultural influences. My work explores the multitude of identities that result from migration as part of the African Diaspora. Part of the African Diaspora for me is the use of Adinkra symbols, a language of traditional symbols from Ghana. Adinkra means to say good-bye to one another when parting ways. The symbols remind people of proverbs and ideas about life and are based on non figurative shapes, plant life, man made objects, the human body and animals. I use these symbols in a playful Neo-Primitive style and manner allowing the paintings to take own their own graphic statements of the many realities of life. I have been doing art from as early as I can remember. Art has always been and will always be the only constant. There are many artists that I admire and continue to draw inspiration from. Artists such as Jackson Pollock, Romare Bearden, Wiz Kudowor, Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, William H Johnson, Wassily kandinsky, and for this series, most importantly Jacob Lawrence… His Migration series was the inspiration behind me embarking on this journey. Lawrence’s Migration series depicted the life of African Americans moving from the south to the north in the 1930. His series is important because he told the story of his community. It was a part of American/Black history that hadn’t been touched upon in art. For me my Adinkra Migration series is one that is ongoing. I strive to represent and continue to tell stories about the plight of people in the African Diaspora through my art.
Obama’s Black Community Dilemma? By Wil LaVeist
February marked the 200th birthday of President Abraham Lincoln - and the state of Indiana, where Lincoln lived from 1816 - 1830, is celebrating in a big way! Two exhibitions, now on view at the Indiana State Museum, (ISM) provide major insight into the life and times of the nation’s 16th president.
There was a moment during President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union speech, where he spoke to issues concerning specific voting groups. He would end the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military, attack equal pay violations against women and continue working on immigration reform, Obama said.
With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition traces Lincoln's growth from prairie lawyer to preeminent statesman and addresses the monumental issues he faced including slavery and race, the dissolution of the Union and the Civil War.
He did not mention an issue, such as racial injustice, that is of particular concern to African Americans. On Dec. 2, 2009, 10 members of the Congressional Black Caucus boycotted a House committee vote on financial reform, saying Congress and the Obama administration wasn’t doing enough for Black America. The significantly higher Black unemployment rate –15 percent compared to the 10.2 percent national average – needed to be addressed. Slavery and discriminatory policies targeting Blacks had triggered huge disparities in health, education, the criminal justice system, and wealth. Equally specific remedies should be applied to close the gaps. However, Obama rejected their criticism saying, “I think the most important thing I can do for the African-American community is the same thing I can do for the American community, period, and that is get the economy going again and get people hiring again.” Can the ply
or should Black Americans expect nation’s first Black president to apspecific policies for the community?
As Obama’s approval rating among Whites dives below 40 percent, his Black rating remains around 96 percent. U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va, a member of the CBC, believes the president’s “rising tide lifts all boats” approach is correct, considering the economic mess he has inherited. Scott was not among the 10 CBC protestors. “I think if you pursue the agenda of jobs, healthcare and education, that would significantly benefit the African American community,” said Scott, the first African American elected to Congress from Virginia, since Reconstruction. “The law has made it virtually impossible to designate money based on being racially specific. You can target money generally, such as in areas of high unemployment. We’re looking for strategies to make sure that the areas of greatest need will get the most help.” Scott said Congress must bear the responsibility too and that meeting consistently with Obama’s staff is the key to influencing policy. The President shouldn’t be expected to have all of the answers. Black people must also help themselves by fighting injustices on the state and local levels. Organize in neighborhoods and hold local politicians accountable. However, because Obama is Black, avoiding race would be disastrous long term. “His administration has made it quite clear that they don’t want a discussion about race unless it’s in a way that is universal,” said Vernellia R. Randall, a law professor at the University of Dayton. “If you insist on talking about race, they are not going to invite you back to the table. What is dangerous about this is that liberal color blindness is harder to deal with than conservative color blindness.” Randall said White liberals acknowledge that racial injustice exists, but don’t want to discuss it, while conservatives claim it’s a closed chapter of the past. White liberals feel good supporting Obama because he is Black, and secure in knowing he won’t challenge them to end the racial in justices from which they benefit, Randall said. Though stimulus funding is being tracked at recovery.gov, it doesn’t necessarily indicate how specific communities are being impacted, Randall said. Black leaders must challenge Obama to address racial injustices, or else undermine their legitimacy to confront the next (and most-likely White) president. “We must treat the President as we would any other on this issue,” Randall said. “Just imagine if Hillary Clinton or John McCain had given that State of the Union speech, (without any refernce to the hardest hit demographic) given the state of Black America now.”
With Charity for All: The Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, ( LFFC) on view until July 25, 2010, features items the museum and $20 million Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection. Reported to be the world’s largest private collection of Lincoln memorabilia, there are more than 30,000 items including signed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment.
Lincoln and his young son, Tad; The chair Lincoln sits in is in the LFFC collection, as well as the original photo. Tad is wearing a Civil War uniform, made especially for him. Visit www.indianamuseum.org
Lincoln Exhibition features Emancipation Proclamation Visit The Conscious Voice.com for more
Indianapolis is just one of five U.S. cities to host With Malice Toward None, which is a Library of Congress (LOC) exhibition. A major highlight of the LOC is ‘The Obama Bible.’ The Bible upon which Lincoln took his oath of office on March 4, 1861. President Barack Obama swore the oath upon the same Bible on Jan. 20, 2009. “You get a sense of history with Obama being the first African American president,” said Dale Ogden, ISM Chief Curator of Cultural History. “I think he sees himself as the culmination of Lincoln’s dream.”
Iconic Images of Gordon Parks on view at the Toledo Museum He lived a life of firsts. He was the first Black photographer for the Office of War Information and the first African-American moviemaker to direct a major Hollywood film. Now, a retrospective of the life of the late Gordon Parks is on view until April 25, at the Toledo Museum of Art. Bare Witness: Photographs by Gordon Parks brings together 73 works grouped specifically by Parks himself. Perhaps best known as director of the Hollywood hit motion picture Shaft, Parks was first acknowledged as a master of the photographic arts. His photography career in the 1940s - documenting crime, poverty, and civil rights, as well as the contrasting world of celebrity and glamour. He went on to spend more than 20 years as staff photographer for Life magazine where he photographed the Black Panthers, the Black Muslims, and Dr. Martin Luther King’s death. Parks also spent time in Brazil getting up-close-andpersonal with the slums of Rio de Janeiro while photographing the de Silva family. Gordon Parks
His first motion picture, The Learning Tree, was based on his semi-autobiographical novel about a black teen in rural Kansas. It was followed by Shaft, an action thriller that helped to inspire the 1970s film genre known as blaxploitation. The exhibition showcases Park's amazing technical ability to create delicate portraiture while at the same time capturing powerful examples of race relations as in the 1970 photo Eldridge Cleaver and Wife, Kathleen, with Portrait of Huey Newton, Algiers. “’Bare witness’ (in the exhibition title) refers to Mr. Parks’ photographic investigation of social, political, and racial issues throughout the world," said Tom Loeffler, TMA assistant curator of works on paper. "He had the ability to become personaly involved while never forgetting his position as a journalist. He bore witness for us all." (below) “Black Muslim Rally, New York, 1963.” Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches. Lent by The Capital Group Foundation, 2002.09 © 2006 The Gordon Parks Foundation. (right) American Gothic, 1942 Gelatin silver print. Muhammad Ali,” 1970 Cibachrome, 20 x 16 inches, by Gordon Parks. Lent by The Capital Group Foundation, 2003.09 © 2006 The Gordon Parks Foundation
You can find out more about the life, times and images of Gordon Parks through these FREE events at The Toledo Museum: March 19, Film & Presentation: Shaft; March 26, Gallery Talk: More Powerful Than a Gun; Addressing a member of the Black Panthers, Parks once said that his camera was “more powerful than a gun.” This exhibition features some of the powerful images captured by Parks from the 1940s to the 1970s. Tom Loeffler, assistant curator of works on paper, and Paula Reich, curatorial projects manager, discuss the stories behind these iconic photographs and their cultural context. April 9, Film: Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks. Visit Toledomuseum.org
Award-winning architect to visit Wexner Center David Adjaye is quickly becoming one of the brightest stars in the design gallery. Fast Company named is his firm, Adjaye Associates, which has offices in London, New York, and Berlin, No. 7 in architecture in their March 2010 list of Most Innovative Companies. Ebony Magazine named Adjaye a 'key change agent' in their Dec/Jan 2010 Power 150 list. Central Ohio will now have the opportunity to hear from this new design leader, when he comes to the Wexner Center for the Arts, on April 6, 2010 at 7 PM.
Adjaye, who lives in London, has a repuMoscow School of Management, Skolkovo, Russia. International Business School in the Skolkovo district in tation as an architect with an artist's sensibility and vision. Moscow. Design by Adjaye Associates. Due for completion in 2010. Diverse in scale, intended audience, and geographic location, his firm's projects include the Museum of ContempoOn March 31, Urban Africa – A photographic journey rary Art in Denver, the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, and the of his career, to design the $500 million National Museum of African-American History and Culture, in Washington, by David Adjaye opens at the Design Museum, London. Idea Stores in London. D.C., as part of the Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup. Adjaye has photographed key cities in Africa as part of an ongoing project to study new patterns of urbanAdjaye was born in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, where his The group proposed a layered, glowing structure topped ism. The collection, on view until Sept. 5, 2010, is a father was a Ghanaian diplomat. He trained with David with a bronze crown. They were among six architectural personal quest to address the scant knowledge of the Chipperfield Architects graduated in 1993 from the Royal firms that entered the design competition in January 2009 built environment of the continent. The urban developCollege of Art. That was also the year he won the RIBA from a total of 22 firms. The group also consists of African ment of cities including Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda First Prize Bronze Medal. He started Adjaye Architects a American architect, Philip G. Freelon, president of awardshowing traces of its Colonial past, Tripoli in Libya, very year later, in 1994. Adjaye has taught at Princeton, Harwinning Freelon Group, who designed the Museum of the much invaded by the energy of the present, the inforvard, and the Royal College of Art in London, where he African Diaspora in San Francisco and the Reginald F. Lewis mal settlements on the edges of new cities like Abuja, received his MA in architecture. Museum of African American History and Culture in BaltiNigeria and the traces of apartheid still inscribed on more and The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Pretoria, South Africa. The photographs are presented as His ingenious use of materials and ability to sculpt and Arts + Culture in Charlotte. The building design will take up vivid large-scale projections, set against a backdrop of showcase light have won him high regard from both the to three years, with construction to begin in 2012 with a African beats specially composed for the exhibition by architectural community and the wider public. projected grand opening in 2015. Pater Adjaye. The images and music will flood the gallery creating a rich diversity of architecture, culture and This past spring, he won the most prestigious commission Adjaye's work is also being featured in a major exhibition. urban landscape.
Known to some as “The Greatest,” and others as simply “Champ,” Muhammad Ali is one of a select few individuals ever to have transcended his athleticism into a symbol of larger societal issues. In 2005, Ali and his wife Lonnie opened the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville as a place that would share, teach, and inspire people to be their best and to pursue their dreams. The Muhammad Ali Center: A Place of Inspiration Visitors consistently describe their experience at the Muhammad Ali Center as 'moving,' 'inspirational,' 'reflective,' and 'awesome.' Since opening, the Ali Center has enjoyed hosting local and overseas visitors, who come to honor Muhammad Ali’s legacy and to explore the three levels of award-winning exhibits. The Center offers onsite learning and entertainment for the whole family. Its innovative exhibition is organized around six defining themes of Muhammad’s life - confidence, conviction, dedication, respect, spirituality, and giving - that highlight his accomplishments, struggles, growth, and extraordinary place in history. As visitors follow the story of Muhammad’s life journey, they are also invited to explore their own strengths and to embark on their own personal course to reaching their full potential. The Ali Center Exhibtions are based on six defining themes of Muhammad’s life - confidence, conviction, dedication, respect, spirituality, and giving.
Ali by John Lair
Muhammad Ali Center
- an international treasure befitting "The Greatest"
ouisville, Kentucky, centrally located in middle America, is the home of Muhammad Ali, who is believed to be the most recognizable person on the planet. His life and career have been played out for the last 50 years in both the front pages of national and international newspapers and on the inside sports pages. Some say that more has been written about Muhammad than any other living person.
The diversity of the Center’s exhibits underscore the many facets of Muhammad’s life - as an athlete, humanitarian, and global icon. Visitors will discover a special multimedia exhibition that showcases Ali’s boxing career; a “hands-on” interactive Train With Ali exhibit; a 55-foot long “Hope and Dream” wall featuring children’s artwork from over 140 countries; a motivating exhibit called Lighting the Way - that relives Ali lighting the 1996 Olympic cauldron in Atlanta; and a transitional space called Walk With Ali that invites visitors to participate in an interactive exercise which helps them identify their own “character strengths” and encourages taking the next step to discovering one’s own personal greatness. Art lovers will take pleasure in the Howard L. Bingham, LeRoy Neiman, and Simon Bull Galleries. And for those who prefer the traditional museum experience, the Center has autographed boxing gloves; the Olympic torch carried by Ali in Atlanta; a bejeweled robe made for and gifted to the Champ by Elvis Presley; a 1977 Rolls Royce formerly owned by Ali, many awards, and much more. Visiting the Ali Center The Ali Center is located in Louisville’s historic downtown, just a block from the Galt House and adjacent to the Kentucky Center. Hours: 9:30 AM - 5 PM, Tues. - Sat. and 12:00 Noon -5:00 PM on Sun. Closed on Mondays. 144 North Sixth Street (between Main Street and River Road). Ph. 502.584.9254. Visit www.alicenter.org
The Gannt Center
Charlotte's epicenter of African American art + culture The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, formerly the AfroAmerican Cultural Center, recently grand opened in a modern, new, $18.8 million uptown building. The center was renamed after former Charlotte mayor, Harvey Gantt, who was also the first black student at Clemson University, and a two-time Democratic Senate candidate against Jesse Helms. As part of the Wells Fargo Cultural Campus, the Gantt Center serves as one of the entry points to experience the arts, sporting events and many other activities that uptown Charlotte has to offer. With two galleries dedicated to changing exhibitions and a major permanent collection, the facility is the epicenter of African American art, history and culture. Two amazing pieces of public art are featured on the South of the Gantt Center building. Divergent Threads, Lucent Memories was created by North Carolina artist, David Wilson. It features fourteen vibrant and bold glass panels spanning approximately 500 square feet. Intersections was designed by local artist Juan Logan. The plaza’s dominant motif, dynamic patterning inspired by Central African Kuba textiles, embodies intertwined relationships between the historical occupants of this site, the present residents moving through the thriving downtown area, and future generations of contributors to society. The Gantt Center is the permanent home for the Hewitt Collection, one of the country’s most unique and diverse private collections of African-American art belonging to art collectors, Vivian Hewitt and the late John Hewitt of New York City. The Hewitt Collection features work by important artists, including, Henry O. Tanner, Romare Bearden, Charles Alston, John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, Jonathan Green, Ronald Joseph, Jacob Lawrence, Hughie Lee-Smith and Hale Woodruff. The work in the collection is predominantly figurative. One piece, Romare Bearden’s Homage to Mary Lou (1983), is a lithograph of the image known elsewhere as The Piano Lesson. This work was developed from an encounter that Bearden and his wife, Nanette, had with jazz musician Mary Lou Williams at an NAACP awards banquet in Atlanta. August Wilson subsequently built his play, The Piano Lesson, from this image. Evolution: Five Decades of Printmaking by David C. Driskell is on view until June 20, 2010. Driskell examines the artist’s stylistic growth and creative explorations through the various styles and media employed in his printmaking over the past five decades.
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture 551 S. Tryon St., 704-547-3700, Admission: $8 (adults), $5 (under age 12, seniors, servicemen and -women) Hours: Tue-Sat 10 AM to 5 PM, Sun 1-5 PM Visit ganttcenter.org (l-r) Woman Washing Clothes by Charles Alston from the Hewitt Collection. Bird Man, 2010, by David C. Driskell, Woodcut and Silkscreen.
Divergent Threads, Lucent Memories, a 50-foot glass mural by David Wilson is featured on the south side of the Gannt Center.
A COLOURED WORLD The Columbia Museum of Art presents African American Masters in Chemistry of Color and Color Visions You won’t believe your eyes! Chemistry and colour are the perfect mix. After more than 37 years, and over 25 exhibitions featuring art of the African Disapora, The Columbia Museum of Art celebrates its 60th anniversary by hosting The Chemistry of Color: Contemporary AfricanAmerican Artists. Now on view until May 9, 2010, the show features 72 works by 41 artists including preeminent modern artists such as Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Faith Ringgold and Betye Saar as well as James Brantley, Charles Searles, Sam Gilliam and others who have made major contributions to the development of American art. The paintings, sculpture, works on paper and textiles, showcase diverse styles, from scenes of African-American culture to abstraction and abstracted realism. The Chemistry of Color represents turning points in the development of American art and presents the emerging visibility and tremendous sense of selfdetermination of African-American artists after decades of relative invisibility in the art world. Barbara Bullock has been a collage, watercolor and paper artist for nearly 50-years, creating artwork since childhood. She said it is still difficult, but attributes current opportunities for Black art to one thing. “African American artists have been struggling for so long,” she said. “If any strides are being made, it is because of the artists themselves.”
The Philadelphia-based artist conducts workshops and residencies in public schools in Pennsylvania and Delaware and teaches a course for teachers, at Rutgers. “I am always looking for ways to introduce artists,” she said. “I am often surprised how little students know about the work of African American artists. They have usually heard of Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence, but their works and achievements are still unknown." Although we are in a season for the appreciation of Black art, Bullock said it is still 'a struggle to get our work shown.' Locale is a major factor. “There are more venues to show artwork in areas like New York, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Atlanta, where the Black population is large.” Though larger museums are now open to showing works by African American artists, Bullock saw greater activity for Black Art Shows in the 1960’s, 70s and 80s. Bullocks’ “Animal Healer,” is a two-dimensional collage of paper and acrylic, color designs and patterns. At nearly six feet tall, “Animal Healer” was the first in her Healer Series.
“This piece paid homage to the person who took care of my animals for me,” she said. “It’s very spiritual. It expresses the connection between animals and people.” The Chemistry of Color, comes from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia. PAFA was one of the few traditional art schools to accept AfricanAmericans into its program since the 19th century. As African-American artists struggled to have their work accepted in the Philadelphia art community, societal changes in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s fed into tremendous artistic innovation, resulting in overwhelmingly bold and colorful works. In conjunction with this exhibition, the Museum presents an installation from its own collection, Color Vision: African-American Masters from the Collection, through May 30. Visit columbiamuseum.org Animal Healer (Healer Series), 1990 by Barbara Bullock, (b. 1938), American Gouache on shaped paper, 67 x 39 1/4” Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, The Chemistry of Color: The Harold A. and Ann R. Sorgenti Collection of Contemporary African-American Art