Artist: Erica Angelica
Black Boy Magic
In society black men are perceived as and taught to be tough, strong, and intimidating. Though black men are viewed in this way, we as society forget that they are emotional beings like all us and are allowed to feel soft, gentle, emotional, and vulnerable. In Black Boy Magic, it shows a side to black men that are often overlooked. I believe we are all connected to Mother Nature. Therefore, females and males all possess fluid aspects in many ways when it comes to our true spirit on this earth. Black Boy Magic highlights the inner magic and beauty black men possess, but aren’t always encouraged to express. Instead of capturing a tough and intimidating stereotypical side of my black male subject, the viewer sees a delicate and peaceful side to him. Instead of sexy or aggressive, black men can be seen as beautiful and soft. This series highlights my exploration of the connection between Mother Nature, spirituality and black men.
Artist: AJ Aremu
I was raised in an African household that functioned in Western society. When I was at home, I was African, but when I walked out into the world, I was perceived as a black American. Growing up in America, one would not think I wasn’t born there because I no longer have an accent and speak English well. My identity, something that should be mine and developed by me, has been snatched by the world and compartmentalized into terms that are limiting, confining and in no way touching the surface of who I truly am. With the time I spend here at Lamar Dodd, I will be researching and creating art that expresses and explores my personal identity as an African immigrant raised in the African American culture. By studying the history of African Americans since the days of slavery till now, I want to be able to understand this ancestry that is commonly associated with me in western society. It’s unfortunate that black Americans have lost the identities of their ancestors. With my understanding of their lineage and history as well as my own, I can tap into a connection and understanding to further strengthen ourselves as a race. An investigation into the assimilation of Black people in Western Society will help me discover and comment upon where the cultures they brought with them from Africa became the foundation that would develop into the modern day African American culture. My goal is empowerment and finding connects that strengthen black people as a whole. Being able to connect the world and knowledge in both the African Diaspora and in the Western world, my hope is to inspire people and to be a catalyst of change for all Black people to overcome our trials and tribulations of not only systematic oppression, but daily living such as debt, miscarriages, and other issues that plague the human psyche particularly the black psyche. I want there to be an acknowledgement between African Americans and Africans that there no point in belittling one another. The focal point of my artistic work is on the subject of identity. By using camouflage and other visual techniques, I want to blur the line that has alienated the two cultures from each other.
Artist: Gason Ayisyin
I distinctly remember my parents and the all-encompassing spiritual, cultural and familial environment that was my daily life in a Haitian immigrant family. My mother had huge drums that elders would play at a moment’s notice, and she encouraged us to dance and become one with the drum. My siblings and I picked herbs from our garden and gathered handcrafted goods to sell at the market. We encountered scores of people who sought our home for spiritual or medicinal healing, and we were always bright-eyed and watchful.
However, my traditional family life was relentlessly plagued with hostility by a surrounding culture, which spawned assimilation as a means to endure. Then, my journey through adulthood revealed an awakening when I took part in a commemoration. I witnessed a crowd dressed in white, the smell of sage, the sounds of drums and children all around. I instantly went to my childhood to relive the drums I heard, the exuberance I felt, the herbs I picked..., and I reconnected with the cultural legacy that has shaped my life and my art.
This exhibition is entitled Nurtured due to the gratitude I feel for my own childhood experience and the importance of culture as an anchor of fortitude throughout one’s life. Our elders have vast knowledge that cannot be told in a year’s time. Thus, cultural learning is a lifelong practice that cultivates different levels of understanding and changes shade with each generation. This exhibition seeks to show children as their own powerful entity, with the light of infinite possibility under the guidance, protection and inclusion of elders. It also offers different ways that nurturing can take place, cultural inclusion at various stages of a child’s life and the effects of sustained cultural practice on a child’s development.
It is my sincere hope that the audience experiences both the serious and playful aspects of culture. I hope the audience reflects on the joys of its own childhood and reconnects with its fallen innocence. I hope it is inspired to keep children involved in all aspects of daily life. I hope to imprint respect for a child’s role in the historical process, as cultural anchors are transferred— through them—to future generations.
Artist: William Buchanan
My work is inspired by the southern landscape and human interaction and integration with that landscape. By blurring the lines of human and non-human natural presence my work creates a holistic view of Nature and that speaks to our urgent need to heal the rift between ourselves and our environment.
I also want my work to encompass spirituality.
Artist: EuGene V. Byrd III
I’m an artist that draws inspiration from life experiences and people around me. Influenced by the mannerism art movement, combined with bold colors, patterns, typography, printmaking, graphite, paint, collage, among other mediums. I enjoy exploring and pushing the boundaries to maintain fluidity within my style. I aim to create something new, yet familiar, that generates curiosity for viewers of all demographics.
A few years ago, I stepped back and really looked at my body of work and I realized that I wasn’t telling my own story. I was addressing civil rights issue and things that were very important to me, but it wasn’t MY story. I realized that I was being guarded within my art. I wasn’t letting anyone in. For the last couple of years my work has organically become more personal. Some paintings are like dairy entries, while others I’m directly speaking to someone or the viewer.
I want my art to provoke emotion. I want the viewer to sit within my art; I want it to stick with you. I want you to walk away impacted.
Artist: Margo Candelario
Many people find comfort in the familiar. My work attempts to weave culture, color and stories that support family, community, love, music and laughter on canvas, fabric, or wood as a constant reminder that living life is the ultimate reward. Lending my voice through color becomes a shared conversation and journey between me and the spectator.
Artist: Chakalah Crawford
I would like to say my art is best described by my business name. As an adult, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. With that diagnosis, I was able to make it my duty to commit to something that allowed me to embrace who I was. Well art was that something. I decided to name my business, A.D.D. Art by Kalah, LLC. My art didn’t follow a certain style but instead, it blended many styles. That is why I would say my work is “diversified”. So what does A.D.D. stand for? Artistically, Diversified and Defiant Art by Kalah. When a person visits my website or my social media, I want them to keep them engaged with something new, something different. I like to create the pieces that you have to stare at to see the hidden images and/or consistent deep and significant meaning. I want my art to be bold, to tell a story, to be unique and unpredictable. I want my art to be a conversational piece and to leave its audience with a memorable impact on just how creative art can be.
Artist: Rodrecas Davis
The broad theme for these works is freedom. In order to address that, I decided to create works that considered the notion from a historical, personal, and religious (or spiritual) point of view. Stylistically, the works continue the visual exploration of recurring imagery found in my Idle Warship and Charmed bodies of work. Those works are mixed media and composed mostly of fabric and paint. The works may feature silhouettes adorned by crowns, and act as variations on the idea of royalty by referring to the Yoruba deities. Or they may Each feature birds, which refer to the theme of freedom/liberation. Also important to the pieces is the roles that light, transparency, and layering play in the works. Much in the same way, those things aid understanding history.
It is my hope that the works will help contextualize American History, even if just a part of it, in all its complexity.
Artist: Jewel Edwards
Edwards explores themes of black identity and black culture as well as dissecting African American history in America and its impact on today’s modern society.
Jewel Edwards was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina. She is currently a junior pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Artist: Broderick Flanigan
I am on a never-ending journey to find new ways to innovate and add extra depth to my work. I gather much of my inspiration from observing personal experiences, the environment, and cultures around the world. These experiences are filtered through a lens of Black identity and culture and how anti Blackness is baked into the American landscape. My more recent works bring awareness to the continuing dialogue around nature vs nurture. Examining the following questions; how does the environment we live in affect us and how much do we have an influence on our environment (community, neighborhood etc.)?
Artist: Marsha Hatcher
I love art in all its forms and have always tried to successfully educate myself in a variety of mediums. Acrylics, oils, graphics, printmaking, photography, pottery and sculpting to name a few.
The majority of my art consists of paintings of the culture I am member of. Painting or sculpting people of color is what I do.
Artist: Noraa James
In all of my art, I’m driven to create portrayals of Black people and my ancestors represented by masked figures of the night sky among celestial bodies or mask-like faces with African features connected like constellations. The primary intention behind my art is to increase the positive representations of Black people and Black skin as well as pay reverence to my ancestors that I will never know because of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Artist: Tony Loadholt
I like set design and construction along with fabrication in various mediums to do my creative work. I have used my mind and my hands for many years from a boy scout making go carts to an adult making simple and complex forms to attract the eyes of my observer. I believe it is in my DNA because my mother and grandmother both worked with their hands knitting and making quilts for family and friends.
My works are inspired by the world around me where I find myself constantly analyzing nature, construction and architecture. I am moved by found objects and visualizing elements through piles of structural debris. I love the Constructivist period in art where I have extracted some of my ideas to create my work.
Artist: Devin Lovett
My recent work focuses on Stark images of figures against baron white backgrounds. By emphasizing the face and skin tones I hope to develop an atmosphere to the overall piece.
Devin Lovett has been practicing art professionally for the past 4 years. He has evolved from pencil and line work to acrylic and now to contemporary oil painting. Devin has participated in multiple exhibitions across the metro Atlanta area, and has had art auctioned on multiple occasions. Devin hopes to further his artistic reach by developing new techniques and practicing in multiple disciplines.
Artist: Damien Mathis
Black women factor prominently in my work, as heroines, mythical beings, and sources of inspiration. I feel women are harmonious. They have seductively brilliant figures and are often sought out for their presence. There is an inherent artistry in the female form that easily translates into a composition. The style of framing that characterizes much of my work involves the idea of something being bigger than the frame that surrounds it – unable to be boxed, caged, or limited – giving thought to infinite questioning and expression.
Most artists tell stories, depict truth or thought, some record history. Since our Black history is scarce and spread thin, at least in the art world, I can catalog and record historical artists through colorful portraiture, infusing a touch of their work for personality. I studied Lois Mailou Jones and Alma Thomas in college along with other great artists that paved the way for emerging artists, working to push the boundaries of artistry, like myself.
Artist: Traci Mims
As an artist I want to provoke thought, educate, and create change. As a black female my art is a perfect platform. The work I create tells the story about some of the aspects of black womanhood and how we are perceived and treated socially. It also represents our attitudes in dealing with this and the strength over adversity that most of us have to demonstrate on a regular basis.
Social and cultural issue is something that I have always had a great sensitivity towards even as a very young artist. To quote an artist that I am inspired by Elizabeth Catlett, “Art for me now must develop from a necessity within my people. It must answer a question, or wake somebody up, or give a shove in the right direction. Our liberation.” And in my own words…, I could sit around all day and paint pretty skillful images to be impressive but at the end of the day it’s more important for me to know that someone learned, felt, or changed because of what I created.
Artist: Jerrold Mobley
My work is consumed with documenting and sometimes re-interpreting the familial, societal, spiritual, and educational microcosms that have become endangered pieces Blackness, as Black culture continues devolving into separated factions. In this regard, the #notastereotype call spoke specifically to me in a number of ways. I've pulled from different collections, a set of three fine art works that reflect the fragile pieces of Blackness I feel are needed in today's climate, to balance where our culture is heading, or being lead, depending on where you stand. The view of a Black child as thoughtful and spiritual, worthy of their innocence. The view of a Black women, forever a symbol of strength, but also fragile. Vulnerable. And the most timely piece, a representation of us collectively standing in protest of an unjust society. Dignified, united, and unflinching. Far from the ubiquitously riotous vandals we are often projected to be. We are not stereotype.
Artist: Daniel Montoute
My work for the past several years has been a visual dialogue on the perceptions of humanity, and a critique of the historical cultural difficulties faced by marginalized peoples. I see my canvas as a mirror and society is the allegorical subject where different individuals, cultures, values, and opinions clash yet while at the best times co-mingle. The purpose of my work is to expose the viewer to a visual language that expresses a new, bold, and fauvist portrait of the colorful world in which we now live.
I liken my work to the improvisation of jazz mixed with the ethos of a symphony orchestra. My style is most noticeable through my use of colors which are expressive manifestations of my message and materials. This gives a raw, spur of the moment style intended to evoke strong feelings. I often abstract the subject’s color. Frequently focusing on the human figure or portrait as the subject, the work intends to draw in the viewer as a co-author, creating new opportunities for thoughts and associations. The colors are intentionally provocative, bold, and in your face, while simultaneously being wide, chaotic, unpredictable, and beautiful.
When I paint, my primary goal is to create a composition that is aesthetically exciting. The typical viewer of photorealistic art will first be impressed with the startling realism balanced in this genre of paintings, the drama created by carefully placed colors, the flashy rendering of a hodgepodge of seemingly unrelated, contrasting color elements and a crisp subject that blend together into a unified whole. I attempt to create a technically sharp realistic image, but contrary to what one may suspect, I enjoy using abstract or nonobjective colors, shapes and figures within the piece: composition is what fascinates me. To me, a complicated, yet carefully balanced composition is exceptionally satisfying and contributes more deeply to the overall message of the work than mere flashy rendering techniques.
Artist: Felicia Noelle
"Art should not be limited by perception...."
Local Louisiana artist Felicia Noelle was introduced to Art before she could talk. Her mother Sharon Elliott-Thomas was an Art student at LSU and would ride them to class on her bike when she was three. Art was their first form of communication. Thomas would draw pictures to a certain point then let her young student finish them. Or change the cup of coffee from hot to cold just by changing a few lines. Through her mother’s love of the arts, Felicia flourished in various mediums and gained an early appreciation for creativity and self-expression. Noelle states that “Art is an extension of each person and is a complete freedom of expression. It should evoke feelings and thoughts, and not be limited by perception." The desire to further the plight of giving back to our communities and educating our world about the importance of expression through the Arts is my main focus. I’m elated that God has given me another vehicle to help someone else accomplish a shared vision. “No Color Lines Productions” is a wonderful opportunity for my God given talent to help share the load of empowering individuals who want to soar past the glass ceiling. “Always give back to the place (communities) where seed was sowed before you, that was harvested and fed you and carried you…otherwise the land will lay barren and the generations after you will starve.”
Artist: Cecil Norris
Norris work aims to raise questions about race, gender, religion, and the politics of representation by portraying contemporary African American men and women using symbolic and figurative paintings. Here Norris draws on his memory, life events, and stories to examine the cultural narrative of the representation of African American men and women.
Norris, the artist, has washed his large-scale and bold paintings with a depth of color with the intentionality and creativity of obscuring and fragmenting the figures into space, boldly bringing forth visions that refuse to be erased. The final image retains a combative but peaceful visual connection yet capturing an allusion to a moment in time. There are traces of specific paintings of The Old Masters, replaced with contemporary images of black subjects, drawing attention to the absence of African Americans from historical and cultural narratives.
The focus on the emotional atmosphere, energy, and space that his figures inhabit allows Norris to strip away the layers of himself to better understand his place in society. The brush strokes, scratches, and marks of the artist’s hand manage to erode its original source while simultaneously renewing and examining the psychology of representation. His paintings are a testament to our complex yet inescapable relationship with the past and present, but he hopes to provoke an emotional response out of the viewer to elicit change in the future.
Artist: Courage Ogie
Courage Ogie Jr is a contemporary digital artist based in Athens, Georgia. Their body of work explores vibrant color, fantasy, and personal identity throughout his paintings.
Inspired by the multitude of techniques and styles executed through the pixilated medium by other artists like Peter Polach and Mohammed Agbadi, they chose digital painting as a conduit for creative expression.
Because of my drive to manifest an atlas of work partially fabricated from the drive of wanting freedom in some form of my life, one trait in my art that I like to maintain is a sense of dynamism or fantasy. This need to maintain this viewpoint stems from my prevailing fear of becoming stagnant and aversion to creating works that heavily resemble the present world. In most of my work, I’m mildly comfortable with freezing time just for a nanosecond so I wallow in either fantasy-driven subjects or pretty nostalgia.
This fanciful, dazed viewfinder of mine is most likely a driving force for the need to present art to myself, let alone others, that represents some aspect of universally appealing or pleasant features while glamorizing rather unpleasant feelings or habits. Maintaining a certain distance from reality’s gritty nature in my art is important too. Because of my identity as an autistic, queer, Nigerian-American, I’m constantly reminded of the often-dismal state of my environment in one way or another. As a result, I put conscious effort to leave social commentary, metaphysical, and philosophical questions out of my work for the sake of my well-being.
Artist: Masud Olufani
My multidisciplinary practice explores the resonance of memory; the narrative traditions of African and African American folklore; and methodologies of constructive resilience implemented by marginalized communities to maintain cohesion and ensure survival. I work with a disparate assortment of materials and studio methods to investigate how objects operate in both the objective and subjective realities, and how history tethers those objects to individual and collective memory. Thematically my work addresses issues such as social stratification; economic destabilization; racial justice, and the soul’s aspiration for transcendence. My devotion to craft and the slow methodical realization of an idea in visual form reflects my belief in the maker’s ability to imbue the object with spirit through physical labor, fueled by vision and creativity. My work is often layered with multiple references and meanings that avoid trite summations. A prevailing archetype in the conceptual framework is that of the ‘trickster’, who, exists at the crossroads, the meeting place between opposing ideas. At this intersection of possibilities, we are asked to choose, to interpret a set of visual indicators which point towards a direction without being didactic. It is the elasticity of the visual language; it’s ability to expand and contract--accommodating multiple meanings--that compels and inspires me.
Artist: Derrick Phillips, Sr.
My life work has been dedicated to understanding what it is to be an African American male. Searching for our identity through cultural, social, and political ideas which affects our daily lives positively and negatively. On this journey, I have found that the African American community possesses this inherited source of resilience, which has been passed down from generation to generation. This source of resilience is very much so connected to our faith and belief in Christianity fused with our African roots.
Derrick Phillips Sr. art escapes the normal matrix of the square/rectangle shape and takes on the circle and cut out wooden figures which derive from the law enforcement target practice silhouette. His current series entitled “Bullets & Nooses” speaks on the parallel between gun violence/police shootings and lynching. The two acts of brutality being essentially the same just taking place in different time periods within American history. The noose is worn like a necklace is a significant symbol in this series which represents a way of paying homage and remembrance of his ancestors who were lynched or those who witnessed such acts of brutality. The parallel is the same in which a Christian would wear a cross on a necklace in remembrance of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Artist: Sachi Rome
I am currently exploring cultural connections throughout history and memory, in particular the overlooked aesthetics of African ancestral Spirituality. My abstracted figures are not grounded in the necessity of physical exactness. They are visual avatars meant to conjure, to embody the spiritual essence of souls who have transitioned into the spiritual realm.
I am a storyteller with a focused effort to channel the artistic energy and history of past generations. I utilize expressive energetic mark making and advocate by use, a growing list of experimental tools. Kitchen spatulas of various sizes, combs, torn cardboard and other tools become legitimate sources for expressive use when the lost ancestors call out through her artistic impulses. There is a freedom that is present from the use of unconventional tools. I operate with intention, but that is tempered and inspired by the unexpected. A disconnect from the conscious minds’ expectations of the mark becomes the spark for unique and potent languages of form. I trusts the process, and that faith in the voices that flow through her during her creative processes, allows the figure(s) to emerge. The abstracted textures and movements are what remains as the evidence of her spiritual interactions.
My painting process is a ritual that opens a doorway of communication with the spiritual realm. I am currently studying connections between my artistic practice as a parallel to traditional African Diasporic religious practices like signifying, call and response, inversion of meanings, and other visual communication strategies with the afterlife. Yoruba religious custom and Yoruba-derivative Santeria traditions inform my practice. Through such philosophies, I divine and communicate with my own ancestral spirit realm. At times, sacred ‘altar’ spaces become an additional incorporated layer. The inclusion of the altar acts as a metaphor. Altars are transformative spaces between the physical and the metaphysical, the known and belief. My art reconnects a line of African American communication that has been severed by Western and Eurocentric views of religion, spirit, and death.
What lies in the in-between of life and the spiritual realm? What happens when the viewer imagines death not as an end, but as a door to deeper understanding of denied cultural self. Who are the chorus of ancestral gods that guide the displaced African? How do we as a people establish and use the unconscious impulse of art as a line of communication to lead, guide and heal ourselves within our communities?
Artist: Tokie Rome-Taylor
I am a mixed-media, photo-based artist. I examine the creolization and hybridization of African cultural traditions, and those brought to the New World through portraiture. My work provides a space for subversive rebellion and cultural autonomy. Found objects act as and are repurposed as artifacts and conduits of personal and cultural memory. Common Western symbolic elements of wealth and status like jewelry, lace, velvet, etc. are interwoven but repurposed to cause a psychological shift within the pre-existing internal narrative of the viewer. The work inverts perception and expectation. I am driven to challenge the narrative that descendants of the Diaspora are only resigned to distorted histories of subjugation, suffering and second-class humanity. Despite having most signs of their history, status, spiritual and cultural practices erased when they were brought to the Americas, Africans in America endured. My offering to our collective history is to explore the spiritual connections, the imagined status, and the dreamed humanity that was denied us but that we kept alive - in plain sight.
Offerings of artifacts were part of ritual means when conjuring and connecting to the spirit and ancestral world. Artifacts are also means of establishing and passing on traditions and status to the next generation. As artifacts, they are used in my work to create a kind of factual fiction. My art is the mirror being used to capture and reflect back the soul of my culture as society, and within the larger society where we exist but are very often not seen. Mirrors and visual magnifiers are used to look back at the past and to also confront the present and future. Embedded cultural materials such as pearls, lace, cotton, bowls, feathers, along with old world artifacts of spiritual practice become a New World means to have some control over the elevation of the Black body, mind and spirit. Feathers in my work for example, are foils for flight and metaphors for intelligence and freedom. The heavy use of pearls replaces the traditional African cowrie beads used as currency and to anoint status and wealth. European status and wealth are being used literally and symbolically to revisit cultural and ancestral traditions of lavish adornment.
My subjects are the forgotten legacies of value and possibility. I’m not interested in “recreating the past,” but in weaving bonds to past traditions of diasporic practices into the present and future. It is my way of speaking from the past, about the present while imagining a more vivid Black future. The work is meant to be a constant reminder for people of European descent, and specifically my own people, that we are holy on our own.
Artist: Margaret Warfield
The journey, into the world of creating art began for me, in the early 1980’s. Initially the subject matter reflected images reminiscent of my childhood, i.e., landscapes of the hills of Tennessee. My chosen medium was oil paints and occasionally pastels. Over the years, I began to paint women engaged in daily activities and dance. I, also, began to use acrylic paints, enjoying the ease of covering a surface quickly with vibrant opaque colors. During this time, I re-discovered my love of cloth and my desire to create flowing fabrics, on the bodies of my images, was born.
“Feel the flow”, are words that emanate through my mind as I paint. These words help me to visualize how fabric looks and feels as the wind catches it. This since of movement, I feel, brings my images to life.
The desire to create art is implanted deeply within me. I believe that art should speak to the viewers inner most self and cause an emotional reaction. The viewer’s feelings may range from joy to sorrow or simply a glimpse of precious memories.
Guest Curated by La Ruchala Murphy
On view May 1 – June 24, 2021
The Lyndon House Arts Center (LHAC) and the Lyndon House Arts Foundation, Inc. (LHAF) are pleased to announce the opening of #NotASterotype, an exhibition guest curated by La Ruchala A. Murphy. Murphy is the first recipient of the Guest BIPOC Curator program funded by LHAF.
La Ruchala Murphy designed and managed a regional art call requesting submissions by Black artists to be considered for this exhibition. Artists from the Southern states entered their works to her curatorial concept in a variety of mediums.
From La Ruchala Murphy – “The works selected for this exhibition were brought together to give voice to Black artists. Each work bring awareness to the stereotypes Merriam Webster’s Dictionary describes as over simplified opinions, prejudiced attitudes, or uncritical judgements by giving the artists the space to celebrate their culture, history, and legacy.
#NotAStereotype challenges the labels and limitations perceived about race, nationality, gender, ability, and sexual orientation by allowing the viewer to see each piece individually and collectively through the eyes of the artists.
The hashtag symbol is used in the title of this exhibition to give the artists relevance in today’s social media society. Just as hashtags are phrases with no space between words; this exhibition aims to leave no space that separates black artists from having representation and access to platforms to share their artistry.
Each artist with varying experiences, beliefs, backgrounds, etc. cannot be put in a box or defined by someone else’s idea of who they should be and how their art should be seen; they are not a stereotype.”
The Curator, La Ruchala A. Murphy, has served as the Executive Director of the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation since June 2019 having previously worked in the arts sector in South Carolina for 15 years. La Ruchala has earned a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts and Master’s in Arts Administration from Winthrop University. She also has a Master of Science in Nonprofit Administration from the University of Louisiana and working toward a doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Columbia International University.
Curator: La Ruchala Murphy