The Art of Black Miami Celebrates the Black and Proud

Get your Art Basel on.

by Bianca Garwood, December 5, 2017

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December arrives as many things: a subtle reminder of Winter’s impending frostbite, season greetings for the Christmas fanatics and Art Basel Miami Beach–an international art fair, which showcases modern and contemporary artworks from emerging to renowned artists.

Each year, the city of Miami becomes the central hub for all things art: from special exhibits and installations to pop up art galleries and parties galore. The festivities attract enthusiasts from far and wide, creating more opportunities to support work by artists of the African descent and experience humanism through the Black lens.

Although Black faces continue to integrate creative industries–that are otherwise whitewashed–our plight to be equally represented persists. We are still kneeling, we are still protesting and for these reasons alone, it is important to support artistic endeavors that display the Black experience. Art Basel Miami Beach provides a platform for Black artists to gain greater exposure and highlights an artist community that is often overlooked.

The Art of Black Miami is one of the many events inspired to create such opportunities and features aspiring and acclaimed local and global artists. Launched in 2014 and continuing year-round, this initiative celebrates the diversity found within the mosaic neighborhoods of The Magic City. A few of the communities who participate in the Art of Black Miami include Little Haiti, Coconut Grove, Liberty City, Opa-Locka, Historic Overtown, Wynwood, MiMo District, Downtown and more.

Art Basel Miami Beach will run from December 7 – December 10 and EBONY will join thousands of art-enthusiasts to revel in the abundance of creative energy and impeccable talent. If you’re also in town, check out a few exhibits that will tickle the senses of the “Black and Proud:”

Prizm Art Fair

Curated by Mikhaile Solomon, Prizm presents Universal Belonging, “a global program examining and unpacking complexities inherent in transcultural dialogue and how Africa and its Diaspora preserve a sustainable dialogue with its identity relative to the dynamics present in the discursive transformation of cultures.” Running from December 5th through December 17th at Mana Contemporary Downtown, Miami, Prizm will feature Iran (Sara Issakharian), Egypt (Ibrahim Ahmed), Nigeria (Yachinma Ukoha-Kalu), the Caribbean (Sheena Rose, Nyugen Smith ) and the United States (T. Eliott Mansa, Leonardo Benzant).

John Dunkley: Neither Day Nor Night

Widely considered as one of Jamaica’s most important historical artists, this exhibition will showcase paintings from the 1930s and ‘40s in addition to a smaller selection of carved-wood and stone sculptures. “Dunkley’s paintings are defined by their distinctive dark palette, detailed imagery—often landscapes––and psychologically suggestive underpinnings. His intimate sculptures reflect more figurative elements—people and animals—and offer insights into his unique iconography. Although his work is well represented in the collection of the National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, as well as in international private collections, Dunkley has not been the focus of a solo exhibition since the 1970s, and never before outside Jamaica.”

The Visionary by artist SandyRose

SandyRose, formally known as Sandra Epps, is a North Carolina native with French Creole, Choctaw, Mexican and Cuban roots and creates canvas artworks, watercolor and mixed media. “Using the process of meditation and visualization, she uses a technique of painting with her hands, pushing and moving the paint onto the canvas with her fingers and then uses India ink to further define the piece. Epps uses bright colors and metallic pigments to bring forth inner power and fiery passion into her artwork. Various pieces from The Visionary series were created live, using the energy from poetic and music performances to become enlaced in the theme of the painting.”

Pérez Art Museum Miami

This exhibition  features works by Contemporary Cuban artists donated to the museum by Jorge M. Pérez, the majority from a recent gift of over 170 pieces, as well as works previously gifted to PAMM in 2012, and several recent acquisitions. The selection includes multiple images of the horizon, and these works serve to structure the conceptual framework of the exhibition. The diverse meanings placed on the horizon—which include it as a symbol of longing, containment or desire—radiate across the additional works on view. Produced in various media, such as, painting, sculpture, drawing, video, and installation, these contemplative artworks help generate a discussion regarding the specificities of Cuba’s current physical, social, and political environment, as revealed through each artist’s personal experience and unique aesthetics.”

ROOTS: La Cuba de mi bisabuelo by Abigail Gomez

“Abigail Gomez is a mixed media visual artist, teaching artist and arts advocate from Virginia. “Roots: La Cuba de mi bisabuelo” is a collection of abstract expressionistic mixed media paintings inspired by her Cuban heritage. The paintings in this collection have a dimensional tactile layer replicating intricate Spanish style ironwork evident on Cuban homes (rejas). The inclusion of this tactile element presents an opportunity for people who don’t usually engage with visual art in the traditional sense, including people who are visually impaired or blind, to have an authentic visual art experience by being able to touch the paintings.”

 
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