….of Color: The African American Experience
a juried exhibit
In conjunction with the Trenton African American Cultural Festival
On display July 11 –
August 30, 2015
Opening Reception Saturday, July 11
6-7 Lenders, Artists & Members
7-9 General Public
TttGallery Talk Sunday, August 9 at 2pm
Beginning on July 11, 2015, works that portray the African American Experience are on display at the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie in conjunction with the Trenton African American Cultural Festival held in Cadwalader Park in August. Juror Wendell Brooks selected forty-six pieces covering a range of media from watercolor to bronze created by twenty-seven artists residing in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.
Each piece is accompanied by a statement from the artist that explains how the work interprets the show’s theme. Some works explore the African Americans’ feelings of invisibility in today’s society. Do we really see what is before our eyes? The artist helps the viewer to focus on what’s important. As Trenton artist Siri Om Singh says when describing his work, Shaman Mystic, “Growing up a man of color in America created experiences of anger, loss of identity and being marginalized. This led me to a search for mystical healing within myself. Taking a stand for my own personal power was a magical, healing experience.”
Other works explore African Americans’ delight in sheer physicality, whether it’s through dance, performing music, or performing feats of athleticism. What the viewer sees and experiences is a poignant joy in the individuals being depicted. In describing her work, Danni Dancing, Diane Greenberg says, “Our culture, dance, and music have been enriched and heavily influenced by African Americans. The contributions of African Americans are what make our dance and music uniquely ‘American’ and different from any other country on earth.”
Many works highlight the universality of human experience, whether we are talking about the strength of a humble farmer, the wisdom of women, the boredom of a street vendor, or the shy smile of a woman being photographed, the viewer is struck by the dignity captured in each image. Kali McMillan explains that she identified with the young woman in her photograph, Girl with Tray of Treats, and that the resulting experience was “most powerful for me when I was able to interact with girls of my own age.”
Juror — Wendell Brooks
Wendell Brooks, professor emeritus at the College of New Jersey, first explored the African American Experience while visiting Alabama as a young man. As a printmaker, his early work reflects the newly found black pride of the era and the understanding for black Americans to take charge of their own representation. Brooks’ later work is a celebration of life, culture and personal strength.
A longtime resident of Trenton/Ewing, he holds a BA in Art Education and MFA in printmaking from Indiana University. His prints are in the permanent collection at the Library of Congress, the National Collection of Fine Arts at the Smithsonian Institution and The College of New Jersey, among others.
The curators, Carol Hill and Carolyn Stetson, have curated a number of shows at Ellarslie, separately and together, and are members of the Trenton Museum Society Exhibits Committee.
The public is invited to the opening reception on Saturday, July 11 from 7-9 pm. Artists in the exhibit will discuss their work at a Gallery Talk on August 9, 2015 at 2 pm.
Read Janet Purcell’s enthusiastic review in the Times.
Read Aubrey J. Kauffman’s insightful review in the U.S. 1 Newspaper.
Listing on the Black Art Projects Blog.
Read Ilene Dube’s comprehensive review on Newsworks, an online magazine hosted by WHYY.
|Karey Maurice||Counts||Drop Box 2014|
|Karey Maurice||Counts||Lunch Box 2014|
|Nicola||Dalbenzio||Provide with Pride|
|Joseph||Dougherty||In the Round|
|Joseph||Dougherty||Profile of Determination|
|Susan||Esbensen||Beauty and the Beholder|
|Terry||Freemark||Kimberly McCarthy Death Row|
|Kathleen||Liao||Breakdown of a Dream: Homage to LangstonHughes and his poem, Harlem|
|So Yoon||Lym||The Dreamtime Poster|
|Kali||McMillan||Girl with Tray of Treats|
|Kali||McMillan||He Wants You|
|Gail||Mitchell||Freedom Summer Quilt|
|Deborah||Pey||Women of Wisdom|
|Siri Om||Singh||Shaman Mystic|
|Holly||Williams||Let My People Go|