About the Artists
Houston-based artist Jamal Cyrus produces revisionist approaches to American history in his work through appropriation and reinterpretation of charged political paraphernalia and cultural objects. He focuses on the formulation of Black identity through political and cultural movements, such as the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and the Black Power movement of the 1970s, and its consequent appropriation by mainstream culture. In his 2D, 3D, an time based work, Cyrus creates his own alternative accounts of Black history, causing the viewer to acknowledge the subjectivity of interpreting past events. He has had solo exhibitions in Texas and New York and participated in group exhibitions nationally and internationally.
Leamon Green earned the BFA in Painting from the Cleveland Institute of Art. He was awarded the MFA degree from Tyler School of Art, Temple University. Green has lived in Houston since 1990 and has taught at Texas Southern University since 1996. As painting professor, Green sets an example for the students as an artist/academician. A highly regarded artist, Green is represented by Hooks-Epstein Galleries. He completed in 1998 a commission for Bush Intercontinental Airport, Terminal B. His art is also permanently installed outdoors in the Courts District in Downtown Houston. Green is represented in numerous museums and private collections.
Professor Green has been the coordinator of the Tanzania Study Abroad Program for the past several years. With other Texas Southern faculty, he has taken over 100 students to East Africa where they have studied the history and culture of the region at the University of Dar Es Salaam.
In 2007, as a Fulbright Fellow, Professor Green studied and taught for a year in Tanzania. Many works in this exhibition were inspired by his time spent in Tanzania and Zanzibar.
States the artist:
Although the artwork fits into the category of painting, speaking accurately it is an amalgamation of traditional painting, drawing, printmaking, and
collage processes. Content is derived from reflecting on similarities and differences in cultures. Specifically the imagery reflects the complicated
definition of being African American in an increasingly global community. The figures are anonymous portraits of characters or types, who could be
family members, either yours or mine. There are clues to identities, patterns viewed in the clothing or the surrounding space, historical African or European objects, all placed in ways that support the figures. For myself one’s identity is an accumulation of cultures one meets both directly and indirectly.
Houston-based ceramic artist and muralist Jesse Sifuentes was born in Kingsville, Texas and grew up in Galveston where he attended Ball High School.
His art teacher Ms. Mignon, recognizing his exceptional talent as an artist, strongly encouraged him to pursue art beyond high school. With the support of a Moody Scholarship, Sifuentes enrolled in the prestigious art program at Texas Southern University founded by nationally renowned artist and muralist Dr. John Biggers and master sculptor and ceramist Professor Carroll Harris Simms. Sifuentes became the first person in his family to attend college.
Another scholarship allowed him to travel to Mexico City in 1974 where he studied the work of Mexican muralists Rivera,Siqueros, and Orozco. Following his graduation from Texas Southern University, Sifuentes received a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Houston. An accomplished ceramist, the artist has exhibited his ceramics in numerous exhibitions, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Sifuentes has created eight murals in the city of Houston, including the commission for the mural, “41 @ 80”at Fonde Recreational Center which honors the public service of President George H.W. Bush given as an 80th birthday gift by the city and assisted with many public art projects. He has assisted with many public art projects, several of which are in his East End community. Earlier this month, the most recent mural of artist Sifuentes was unveiled at a ceremony at Starbucks on Wayside. Jesse Sifuentes retired in 2007 from the Houston Independent School district after 27 years of service as an art teacher. He is currently an instructor at Texas Southern University’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts.
States the artist:
Dr. Biggers once stated that the artist has a responsibility to the public. As a “documenter” of the affairs of the community there are some things
that can not be ignored and should be address in verse or in visual statements. Public or private work includes images in an aesthetic form to address these issues.
At a very young age, living in Lagos, Nigeria, I became influenced by the beautiful animations and child-friendly graphics I saw on television. Growing up I sought to replicate those animations I saw with determination and commitment. It was these habits that drove me into realizing my talents during my teenage period, and eventually initiate me into the world of art. As a youth, I have learned to nurture my talent and channel it into creating works that are aesthetically pleasing to me.
When I setup to make a painting, I hold within my thoughts the goals I aim to achieve; to visually communicate with viewers both mentally and emotionally. As an artist, I make my work define my aesthetic; the beauty of humanism in art. My belief is that art and the human figure are interlaced. Realizing beauty in works of art means producing figurative works that encompasses the versatile topic I present with each work of art. This could range from examining universal socio-political issues to the domestic aspect of relating to one’s own self. As a student, I am constantly learning to work in the manner of the classical and contemporary painters such as Diego Velasquez, Caravaggio, and William Bouguereau. Primarily Kehinde Wiley because through the contemporary painter, I have learned to embrace afro-centric works and also realize the beauty of being of African descent; as a result, embedding African themes into my work has become a part of preference. I prefer making my work look life like because it is aesthetically pleasing to me and also, because I want my viewers to easily interpret the message I try to convey with each work of art I produce.
Seeing myself as always being a student of Art, I visualize the branch of drawing and painting as an endless array of possibilities involving mediums I can use to create my works to themes and subjects that I can explore. Being committed and ever zealous about making works of art, I perceive my present body of work as a testament to my endeavor to become a better and professional artist in the future.