The beauty and confidence of Blackness

Personal Structures, July 29, 2022

In a conversation with Myrtis Bedolla, Curator and Founding Director of Galerie Myrtis, she explains how the exhibition Personal Structures has “allowed the gallery to present the concerns of African-Americans on a global platform, sharing their thoughts and worries internationally”. In a time when opportunities for a Black gallerist and for artists of colour are very limited, it is treasured to “become part of a global conversation of art and culture”.

The presentation, in fact, explores Blackness and the future of Black humanity and does so thanks to the expressions of eight African-American artists. Some of them pull from their own memories and experiences like Tawny Chatmon does to celebrate the beauty of black childhood, and Delita Martin to offer identities for women of colour. Others investigate narratives of vulnerability and isolation such as Morel Doucet’s work, or of toughness and agency as we can witness with Larry Cook’s The Other Side Of Landscape series. Meanwhile, artists including M. Scott Johnson, Monica Ikegwu and Arvie Smith offer alternate observations on Black aesthetic syncretism, self-identity and dignity. According to Smith himself, all of these creations carry a significant message. While visiting the European Cultural Centre, Smith explained how with his works he “attempts to make the world aware about the responsibility of artists to talk about the things we don’t talk about, about the things that make White people uncomfortable and to refocus and not leave ignored where we are today”.

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