Ex­hibit show­cases im­pact of 60 African-Amer­i­can artists

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - SUNDAY LIFE - — Ayanna Na­juma, for The Oklahoman

As one who grew up in the 1960s, at­tended the March on Wash­ing­ton, was a part of the civil rights move­ment and cog­nizant of the mes­sages that so­ci­ety pre­sented dur­ing the evo­lu­tion of the Black Power move­ment, mem­o­ries of the past em­braced me as I stood amid what was one of the most amaz­ing ex­pres­sions of artis­tic tal­ent one could ex­pe­ri­ence — “Soul of a Nation: Art in The Age of Black Power,” pre­sented by Crys­tal Bridges Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Art in Ben­tonville, Arkansas.

Crys­tal Bridges was the first mu­seum on this side of the pond to present 164 pieces of work by 60 African-Amer­i­can artists in­clud­ing Ro­mare Bear­den, Faith Rain­gold, Martin Puryear, Alma Thomas, Charles White, Melvin Ed­wards, Dana C. Chan­dler, Jr. and many who were hid­den trea­sures in the art world.

The ex­hibit takes view­ers on a his­tor­i­cal jour­ney from 1963-1983 and in­tro­duces them to the for­ma­tion of Spi­ral, a group of New York artists, as well as a group like AfriCOBRA based in Chicago.

Both groups were com­mit­ted to show­ing the world that Black artists have a spe­cial im­pact on so­ci­ety and their cre­ative tal­ent could be used in sculp­ture, paint­ing, and pho­tog­ra­phy — not to men­tion textiles — as ma­jor change was be­ing made across the coun­try.

As one moves from room to room, the in­ten­tion in the de­vel­op­ment of the ex­hi­bi­tion by Tate Mod­ern in Lon­don be­came quite ap­par­ent: Each per­son can ques­tion what is rel­e­vant as ex­pressed in the eco­nomic, po­lit­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal mean­ing of each piece of art.

“Soul of a Nation” con­nects the dots when it comes to un­der­stand­ing the past and help­ing people to un­der­stand the is­sues of to­day. The tex­ture and color com­bi­na­tion, and the mes­sag­ing in step­ping out of the box shows true cre­ativ­ity of some of the most ac­com­plished artis­tic masters of all time.

The ex­hibit closes on April 23.

Ayanna Na­juma

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.