A black-owned art gallery in Georgetown brought a dynamic group of artists together to discuss and illustrate the importance of black art through their work.
The P Street Gallerie presented the Black Art Matters 2017 Exhibition Series featuring visual arts and spoken word from May 18-25.
California native and gallery owner Lisa Brown said the Black Art Matters exhibit is an effort to continue and broaden the discussion around the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Simply put, black art matters because black lives matter,” she said. “At P Street Gallerie, we are interested in the transformative nature of art. We believe art of all genres can begin, continue or change a dialogue. When we make room for black artists in our institutes, museums and galleries, we allow their stories to be told.”
The artists featured in the the exhibit includes Los Angeles resident Wanda Knight, a graphic designer who has produced a wide range collection of work during her 30-year career, working with mediums that include watercolors, oils, pastels, charcoal, sculpture and collage.
In recent years, she has focused on a medium she calls “afro-collage.”
Using collected materials, she creates African and black urban motifs on canvas with leather, wood, cloth, metal and jewelry pieces.
Knight believes the tactile nature of her pieces, “forces people to really examine my art and its message.”
Local artists such as Caroline Ford-Coleman, Imar Hutchkins, Reshada Pullen-Jireh and Marqueo also aim to tell black stories in their art through found objects, historical documents and new materials.
“I’ve been lucky to have been exposed to a little bit of everything,” Marqueo said. “To life in the streets, to life as most aspire to live. This has shaped me into the person I am today and given me the ability to navigate through just about any situation.
“I’ve always been drawn to street art,” he said. “It’s creative and disruptive, very similar to the most effective art or communication in any medium. My work has evolved by combining fine art and street art into one. This reflects my life.”
Pullen-Jireh said she chooses to paint black people living their everyday lives as an urgent need to communicate that blacks are human.
“I paint positive images of black people because of the desperate need to see and self-identify with good,” she said. “I create and promote images that communicate that Black people have value. I combat tokenism and stereotypical tropes that flood our visual culture.
“It’s my peaceful battle against the idea that only one culture is the standard or pinnacle for all others to aspire to reach out of the many different ethnicities and cultures on the earth,” she said. “All people no matter the ethnicity contribute tremendously to the richness of the human experience.”