Ballet dancers cast in shades of burnt umber. Black mystical women with billowing technicolor hair. Mixed Media images of queens and kings. Realistic portraits of young African Americans painted upon different fabrics.
These are works of art created by the 2020 edition of The Art of Four, an initiative designed to spotlight the work of San Antonio African American artists.
“It’s really important for them to get the exposure that they deserve,” said Maria Williams, founder of the collaborative initiative. “I want people to know the work of local African American artists.”
The first four artists are Claudette Hopkins, Kwanzza Edwards, Akaimi Davis and Kaldric Dow. They cover a range of ages and styles.
Williams, a local curator, said she created the initiative, which will offer the works of four artists that will change every year, after she noticed artwork by artists in the city who didn’t look like her. She contacted the four artists to discuss doing something to prominently feature their artwork at exhibits around San Antonio.
The group’s first exhibit was a private show in January. Examples of the artists’ work can be found on the Art of Four page on Facebook.
In December, four new artists will be chosen for 2021.
Williams sent a proposal to the Institute of Texan Cultures, now under the University of Texas at San Antonio, to showcase The Art of Four after noticing that the exhibits in the African American section hadn’t been updated for years.
“There wasn’t anything to show where we had arrived to,” she said.
The exhibit was due to open April 11, but then the stay-at-home order came down closing venues across the city in efforts to control the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. The exhibit was postponed indefinitely; the institute has not yet been reopened.
Hopkins, 76, originally from Dallas, has been an artist all of her life. She majored in art education at Texas Southern University in Houston. Her medium of choice is pastels; women of color are her subject matter.
“We don’t really get to show our work that much,” Hopkins said of Williams’ initiative. “It’s another avenue, it’s really exciting.”
Davis, 44, said her artwork helped her after she was diagnosed with leukemia in 2013. The art helped her work through the pain, depression and chemotherapy. She said it is an honor to be a part of the collaborative.
“The basis of my work represents who I am as an individual, a Black female and Black person during this time of social uprising,” she said. “I want my work to reflect the culture.”
Dow, 29, is known for his Black on Black series and his fabric artwork. He said he goes to Goodwill, fabric stores and online sources for textures that have a soulfulness that go well with a portrait.
He studied at the University of Texas at San Antonio and said he wants his art to connect with people.
“The main thing in my art is to bring beauty to the Black body,” Dow said. “I don’t think there’s enough positive Black imagery and that’s what I want to bring to it.”
Edwards, 29, said art has always been a part of her life. She said her pieces can take from six to 30 hours to complete.
A self-described night owl, she has a bachelor’s of fine art from Lamar University in Beaumont. Her love of fantasy art fuels her work that features Black mystical deities.
“There are more Black and brown artists out here,” Edwards said. “You just have to look harder and when you find us, support us. We’re here.”
Vincent T. Davis is a reporter in the Greater San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read him on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @vincentdavis
Credit: Source link