LifestyleBlack History Month artists explore human resilience and fragility

Black History Month artists explore human resilience and fragility

D.C.’s storied Zenith Gallery recently hosted a Black History Month artist talk featuring Cheryl Edwards, Hubert Jackson and Bernie Houston.

“Chantress” by Cheryl Edwards is a visually rich tapestry of cosmic energy and ancestral rhythm. (Courtesy photo)
With the Association of African American Life and History (ASALH), the creators of Black History Month, celebrating “African Americans and the Arts” as its 2024 theme, the conversation turned into a robust dialogue about the artists’ lives, works and journeys.

Edwards, a multimedia artist with deep roots in the District, captivated the audience with the explanation of her series “The Sacredness of Life,” which reflects upon the fragility of existence during the pandemic. 

“There are 11 paintings… and what I was thinking about during that time is how fragile our life is. There were many people dying. And, even in spite of all of that, there were still horrible things happening in the news. I mean, we weren’t learning anything as humans,” she shared.Edwards underscored the emotional depth and introspection embedded in her work; highlighting the human condition’s complexities in times of crisis. By reflecting on a period marked by widespread loss and uncertainty, Edwards explored how individuals and societies respond to crises. 

Her use of metaphors, such as African dolls and water, added layers of meaning to Edwards’ paintings, inviting viewers to contemplate themes of revival, hope, and the interconnectedness of life.

Jackson then entered the dialogue, sharing his exploration of the African-American experience through his series on the Civil War, with a particular focus on the significance of his hometown Culpeper, Virginia.

“Culpeper is sort of like the hub of a lot of things that went on during the Civil War,” he explained.

Jackson’s connection to Culpeper added a personal dimension to his work, as the town’s strategic importance during the Civil War provided a context for exploring the contributions and experiences of African Americans throughout the conflict. Through his mixed-media paintings, Jackson incorporated found objects and artifacts from the battlefields. Jackson invited the talk’s attendees to reflect on the human cost of war and the resilience of communities affected by the Civil War.

Lastly, Houston jumped in, recounting his journey as a driftwood artist, which began in his childhood in the fishing town of Thunderbolt, Georgia. He described his process of transforming driftwood into art, emphasizing the importance of listening to the wood and respecting nature.

Bernie Houston’s “All Night” was carved from a singular piece of driftwood, this piece, evoking the rhythm and energy of nocturnal harmony. (Courtesy photo)
Houston shared his ambition to collect driftwood from every continent and state with tidal water, and his careful approach to navigating property rights and environmental concerns during his excursions. He also reflected on his background as a painter and graphic artist, and his transition to working with driftwood professionally after college.

Throughout the panel, all of the artists emphasized the importance of art as a medium for expressing truths and challenging societal norms. 

Ultimately, Edwards sought to use the Black History Month event as an educational opportunity – highlighting the symbiotic relationship between artists and collectors, while emphasizing the role of art collectors in preserving and fostering cultural heritage.

“I think that if you’re enamored with any piece of art, you should consider yourself a keeper of the culture,” Edwards shared. “Keeper[s] of the culture means that you support the artist by buying their work.”

Source: Washington Informer

“The Morning Roast” With Cast of Professional Black Men Launches Season 2 in Major TV Markets

Nationwide — Live from the Cave: The Morning Roast is back for its highly anticipated second season, premiering on WGN TV Chicago on April...

Founder of Black Woman-Owned Streaming Service Launches Platform to Fund Stories Told by Black Creators

Nationwide — kweliTV, the premier streaming service celebrating Black culture from around the globe, announces the launch of kweliFUND, a groundbreaking crowdfunding platform designed...

Hip-hop and jazz festival at Kennedy center features hip-hop royalty

A standing-room-only, sold-out throng of hip-hop and jazz enthusiasts filled the seats of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Northwest...

Imani Jean: Freshman standout achieves early success at Howard

From the late Althea Gibson to retired legendary players such as Serena and Venus Williams and Zina Garrison to Naomi Osaki, Sloane Stephens, Ora Washington...

Davey Yarborough honored at Duke Ellington’s 125th birthday concert

As a celebrated musician and arts educator, still making strides in teaching jazz to young musicians, Davey Yarborough, will be honored during “Ellington at...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest

“The Morning Roast” With Cast of Professional Black Men Launches Season 2 in Major TV Markets

Nationwide — Live from the Cave: The Morning Roast...

Founder of Black Woman-Owned Streaming Service Launches Platform to Fund Stories Told by Black Creators

Nationwide — kweliTV, the premier streaming service celebrating Black...

Hip-hop and jazz festival at Kennedy center features hip-hop royalty

A standing-room-only, sold-out throng of hip-hop and jazz enthusiasts...

Imani Jean: Freshman standout achieves early success at Howard

From the late Althea Gibson to retired legendary players...

Newsletter

Don't miss

“The Morning Roast” With Cast of Professional Black Men Launches Season 2 in Major TV Markets

Nationwide — Live from the Cave: The Morning Roast...

Founder of Black Woman-Owned Streaming Service Launches Platform to Fund Stories Told by Black Creators

Nationwide — kweliTV, the premier streaming service celebrating Black...

Hip-hop and jazz festival at Kennedy center features hip-hop royalty

A standing-room-only, sold-out throng of hip-hop and jazz enthusiasts...

Imani Jean: Freshman standout achieves early success at Howard

From the late Althea Gibson to retired legendary players...