Tag Archives: African Diaspora Art

Wallpaper Magazine, Victor Ekpuk and Prizm Art Fair 2020

4 Dec

ART | 1 DAY AGO | BY HARRIET LLOYD-SMITH

Prizm Art Fair gives a platform to African Diasporic perspectives

Coinciding with Miami Art Week, Prizm Art Fair is championing and examining the intersections of African cinema traditions and visual art

Sthenjwa Luthuli, Reaching For Stars (2020)

In spite of widespread coronavirus-related hurdles, 2020 has offered glimmers of hope for the art world, particularly in the steps taken to highlight, and rectify the lack of diversity across the industry.

One art fair, Prizm, has been spotlighting diverse voices in contemporary visual art since 2013, with a core mission to widen the scope of international contemporary art from Africa and the African Diaspora.

By carving out a space for cross-cultural exchange in Miami and beyond, the fair seeks to address socio-political and cultural issues pertinent to people of African descent, while educating and nurturing the city’s inhabitants.

Victor Ekpuk, Mother Series #1 (2019) as seen at Prizm Art Fair. Image courtesy of Morton Fine Art

‘African Diasporic communities have attempted repeatedly to blanket themselves from a host of incessant obstacles – systemic injustice, racism, economic disparity, gender inequality – while the goal post of progress stretched farther away with each giant leap made towards it,’ says Mikhaile Solomon, founder and director of Prizm.

For its eighth edition, coinciding with an unsurprisingly scaled-down Miami Art Week, the fair’s online programme will feature 47 artists in ‘Noir, Noir: Meditations on African Cinema and its Influence on Visual Art’, an exhibition curated and organised by Solomon and interdisciplinary artist William Cordova. Noir, Noir references the African avant-garde film tradition and encourages a deeper understanding of global African identities through the intersection of cinema and contemporary visual art. Elsewhere, highlights include a programme of film screenings and talks led by leaders in Diasporic Visual arts.

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John Baloyi, Lititha 4 (2020). Courtesy of Dyman Gallery

Participating galleries hail from eleven countries including the United States, Caribbean and the African continent including Barbados, Ethiopia, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Saint Maarten, South Africa and Trinidad. Featured artists include Victor Ekpuk, Yanira Collado, Sthenjwa Luthuli, Alicia Piller, Justice Mukheli, Versia Harris and Milena Carranza Valcárcel. Prizm will also spotlight emerging Miami-based artists who engage in socio-political issues pertinent to people of African descent, and in the city’s growth as a cultural hub. 

 

Prizm Art Fair will be accessible online until 21 December 2020. prizmartfair.com

Link to Wallpaper* Article

Available Artwork by VICTOR EKPUK

VICTOR EKPUK- featured solo in Morton Fine Art’s booth at Prizm Art Fair 2020

5 Nov

NOIR, NOIR:
MEDITATIONS ON AFRICAN
CINEMA AND ITS INFLUENCE
ON VISUAL ART
PRIZM 2020 – dedicated to exhibiting international artists from the African Diaspora – returns with its eighth edition, taking place from December 1 to 21, 2020. A VIP preview week will take place from November 24 to 30, 2020. PRIZM Art Fair 2020 will be available for online viewing through the PRIZM website and Artsy.net. Film screenings and PRIZM’s panel talks program will be available through the fair’s website.For its eighth edition, PRIZM will present a curated exhibition entitled Noir, Noir: Meditations on African Cinema and Its Influence On Visual Art curated and organized by William Cordova, and Mikhaile Solomon. The special section will include 45 artists from various global locales including, Congo, Haiti, Jamaica, Barbados, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Maarten, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and the United States. 

Noir Noir…” revisits and contemplates the layered rendering of complex communal histories through the lens of African/Diasporic filmmakers past and present, seeking a deeper understanding of global African identity through an evaluation of its intersections with contemporary visual art. Noir, Noir will examine how these films have functioned as harbingers of global African/Diasporic liberation movements and expound on the intersections between contemporary art practice and the spectrum of African/Diasporic film traditions. Noir, Noir references the African avant-garde film tradition as well as contemporary African/Diasporic filmmakers to explore how visual artists have created bodies of work inspired by narratives, aesthetics, cultural notes, and social commentaries poetically rendered in the various cinematic modalities.

Register HERE

 

Victor Ekpuk is a Nigerian-American artist based in Washington, DC. 

His art, which began as an exploration of nsibidi “traditional” graphics and writing systems in Nigeria, has evolved to embrace a wider spectrum of meaning that is rooted in African and global contemporary art discourses. 

Guided by the aesthetic philosophy nsibidi, where sign systems are used to convey ideas, Ekpuk re-imagines graphic symbols from diverse cultures to form a personal style of mark making that results in the interplay of art and writing. 

Ekpuk’s art reflects his experiences as a global artist – “The subject matter of my work deals with the human condition explained through themes that are both universal and specific: family, gender, politics, culture and Identity”.

Mr. EKPUK’s artwork can be found the permanent collection of the following museums and institutions:

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, Washington, DC

Smithsonian Museum of African Art, Washington DC, USA

Krannert Art Museum, USA

Hood Museum, USA

Brooks Museum, USA

Arkansas Art Center, USA

Newark Museum, New Jersey, USA

The World Bank, Washington DC, USA

University of Maryland University College Art Collection, USA 

The U.S. Department of State

He has been represented by Morton Fine Art in Washington, DC since 2012.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW AVAILABLE ARTWORK BY VICTOR EKPUK

Morton Fine Art, 52 O St NW #302, Washington, DC 20001

(202) 628-2787, info@mortonfineart.com, http://www.mortonfineart.com

 

Two New Small Drawings by MICHAEL ANDREW BOOKER

28 Aug

Just off the easel – two new small drawings by DC based artist MICHAEL ANDREW BOOKER.

 

 

Michael Andrew Booker

Pocket Rockets (PPE 1), 2020
Fine liner pen and watercolor on paper
14 x 11 in

 

 

Michael Andrew Booker

Untitled (PPE 2), 2020
Fineliner pen and watercolor on paper
14 x 11 in

Influenced by quilts used during the Underground Railroad to send hidden messages to the traveling slaves, the drawings in Godspeed document a journey of escapism for travelers in search of a better life, for themselves and for generations to come. Quilts are used as sign markers, shields, portals, and gateways to help secure safe passage towards an “Afrotopia.” Hip Hop music, African wax fabrics, and the quilts of Gee’s Bend give form and guidance to the figures and patterns, encompassing African American history, culture, and mysticism.– MICHAEL A. BOOKER, 2020

Michael Booker is a mixed media artist originally from Jackson, Mississippi who currently resides in Maryland. He received his BFA in Studio Art – Painting from Mississippi State University in 2008, and received his MFA in Studio Art from University of Maryland in 2012. He has exhibited in various galleries across Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, Maine, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC. His work has been acquired by the David C. Driskell Center in College Park, MD. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor of Art at Montgomery College Takoma Park/Silver Spring. Booker has been represented by Morton Fine Art in Washington, DC since 2019

Click here to view available artworks by MICHAEL ANDREW BOOKER.

 

Morton Fine Art

52 O St NW #302

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 628-2787 (call or text)

http://www.mortonfineart.com

mortonfineart@gmail.com

Studio visit with Ethiopian artist MERON ENGIDA

5 Aug

 

 

Ethiopian artist MERON ENGIDA shares her studio, art practice and inspiration. Contact Morton Fine Art for additional information and acquisition of her incredible paintings.

Morton Fine Art

52 O St NW #302

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 628-2787 (call or text)

mortonfineart@gmail.com

http://www.mortonfineart.com

AMBER ROBLES-GORDON’s series “Place of Breath and Birth” created in her birth country of Puerto Rico

16 Jul

 

Place of Breath and Birth

Series, Collage, 2020

Botánica del Amor, Autorreflexión y Espiritualidad, 18 x 24, 2020

Botánica del Amor, Autorreflexión y Espiritualidad, 18 x 24, 2020

Place of Breath and Birth

Solo Exhibition at Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Background:

As my first opportunity to exhibit in the Caribbean and to deepen my relationship with my birthplace, San Juan, Puerto Rico – la Isla del Encanto (the enchanted island) – I have titled this solo exhibition at Galleria de Arte, Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Place of Breath and Birth. My artwork is about my personal narrative and the intersections of womanhood, patriarchy, hybridism, and Americanism. My intention is to further contextualize my narrative and artwork within the political, socioeconomic, and environmental threads that define and are often in my opinion used to control, alienate and or mistreat Puerto Ricans in generally and Afro-Puerto Ricans in particular.

The intention of this exhibition is to empower my five-year-old self. To give her the strength to fight for herself, her language and culture. I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and raised in Arlington, Virginia. My first language was Spanish, yet at about five years old, I came home one day and told my mother: “I was not speaking Spanish anymore”. From then on, I responded to my Spanish/English speaking mother in English only. Later, I came to understand that I had surrendered my Spanish tongue—a critical part of my cultural identity— so that I could “fit” a version of myself that could possibly coincide with the prescribed box that others had for a brown-skinned girl such as myself.  Although in time, the name calling ceased, however, the micro-aggressions, insensitive questions, assumptions, and judgments about my brownness lingered. Throughout this life, time-after-time, I have had to choose to identify with my brownness/blackness over the other cultural ties that bind other Spanish speaking people with their culture.

My Caribbean family—with roots in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, and Antigua— has long been impacted and splintered, by the search or pursuit of education, better income, and greener pastures. As with all achievement, there are gains and losses. The fruit includes a well-educated family with greater exposure to the world and economic and social opportunities. Yet, the primary sacrifice is our distance from the thickened knotted roots of Caribbean Black and Latino heritage and culture that living at home might have provided. – AMBER ROBLES-GORDON, 2020

IMG_1131.jpeg

Visiting Puerto Rico:

In preparation for this exhibit, my mother and I spent two weeks in September 2019 Puerto Rico. My mother was returning to her childhood home and I was visiting for the first time as an adult. Since then, I have returned to PR to give an artist talk as part of Sagrado de Corazon’s visiting art program and to live in PR for extended period to produce the artwork for this exhibition.  Due to the impact of continuing earthquakes in Puerto Rico from 2019 unward and the COVID 19 epidemic, the format and focus of this artwork has shifted. On July 10, 2020, Place of Breath and Birth will be featured online by the Galleria de Arte, Universidad del Sagrado Corazón on its website at https://www.sagrado.edu/visitingartist/. Additionally, please check out the interview with myself and Norma Vila, Directora de la Galería de Sagrado at https://insagrado.sagrado.edu/las-recientes-iniciativas-de-la-galeria-de-sagrado/?fbclid=IwAR3omEVgPUlcm67lRRBbaliuhimPu6GK-PwK4toQS7CNH0y5IxsidHs9kUw to find out additional details about the residency and my experiences in Puerto Rico.

The Artwork:

Upon its completion, Place of Breath and Birth, will include ten (10) mix-media collages. This digital exhibit includes the first four collage works of the series. Included in this virtual exhibition are the following works: Botánica del Amor, Autorreflexión y Espiritualidad (Botany of Love, Self-reflection and Spirituality), La Island del Encanto (The Island of Enchantment), and Tendedero, Comunidad y Energía Eterna (Clothesline, Community and Eternal Energy). Each collage measures 18 X 24 inches and is made of acrylic paint, magazine paper, permanent ink line drawings, fabric, and other mixed media items.

A foundational symbology of this body of work is the Fiscus Elastica commonly known as the Rubber Tree, rubber fig or rubber plant.  I was introduced to the Rubber Tree while in Puerto Rico on the grounds of the Universidad de Sagrado de Corazón (University of the Sacred Heart) campus. Among its extensive botanical collection of indigenous plants of Puerto Rico; I found a large banyan tree whose broad canopy sheltered smaller versions of itself growing at its feet. This tree appeared to be a literal fusion of past, present and future state of creation or sustaining an ecosystem. In La Isla del Encanto (pictured below) and throughout this series are abstracted representations of the rubber tree– an entanglement of strong roots – as a example of its resiliency this tree most recently stood-fast to its native soil while 155 mph winds that battered the campus.

Isla del Encanta, 18 x 24, 2020

Isla del Encanta, 18 x 24, 2020

The second most important symbolic layer of the work are the depictions and interpretations of the transitions of day to night and night to day. I intentionally choose a studio and apartment on the third floor in Puerto Nuevo with three-dimensional exposure to light. I then surrounded myself with plants to create an internal garden a reflection of the thousands of “porch gardens” featured throughout PR neighborhoods. From this perch, I could see the changing environment as the light increased or waned and how the varying aspects of weather altered each day. Depending on where I stood, and the time of day, I had a virtual window into the varying socioeconomics aspects of diversity of the island. The combination of the verdant and vibrant nature of the island landscape, my internal garden and the third floor weather allowed for the feeling of creating an atmosphere.

As I progressed through researching, photographing, living and ultimately creating after the beginning of COVID 19 quarantine the cylinder abstracted rubber tree forms expanded to circular ecospheres to convey a spiritual and ethereal connections to and within my immediate environment. Throughout some of the artworks I am a figure, a witness to the beauty and complexity of the Puerto Rican landscape – tropical jungle, 1,000 of miles of carreteras, the co-mingling and isolation of three major ethnic/racial groups – Taino, the Spanish and Africans, the strangle hold of the United States and the impact of the Caribbean Sea, with its threat of hurricanes, scorching summer heat and lush landscape.

Ultimately, I hope this narrative and artwork gives voice to others who walk in brownness—who breathe within a female form, and or—- who do not quite fit the norms…yet are Bold and Proud. – AMBER ROBLES-GORDON, 2020

Tendedero, Comunidad y Energía Eterna, 18 x 24, 2020

Tendedero, Comunidad y Energía Eterna, 18 x 24, 2020

Elemental: Tierra, Aire, Agua, Fuego, 18 x 24, 2020

Elemental: Tierra, Aire, Agua, Fuego, 18 x 24, 2020

Morton Fine Art
52 O St NW #302
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 628-2787 (call or text)
mortonfineart@gmail.com