Visual Legacy: A Century of Art in the African Diaspora

Visual Legacies is a virtual dialogue examining the political and social landscapes which influence and direct the creation of art and culture across the African diaspora. It serves as an educational resource and living conversation exploring the past one hundred years in African American and African art history, addressing issues of identity and representation in a world of rapid cultural, societal, and technological transformation. Join us every 4th Tuesday of the month for a lively conversation
with featured artists and guests.

 

Visual Legacy 1920's : The Contemporary Spirit

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 | Online

 

Host  

Michael Ewing 

As a curator, I find myself closely reflected in the ethos of “Renaissance”. Like many Black people at the turn of the century, my family migrated from the countryside to the city. Hailing from Houston Texas, I moved to Nashville to pursue my education at Fisk University. It was there I discovered the deep historical connections between the city of Nashville and the Harlem Renaissance. Many of the artistic ideas of “rebirth” that undergirded the 1920s Renaissance were the result of intellectual discourse produced at Fisk by the likes of WEB Du Bois, a Fisk graduate. Aaron Douglas, a leading painter during the Harlem Renaissance who has been called “the father of Black American art,” founded and for 29 years as chairman of the art department at Fisk. This department would go on to produce great artists and poets like Nikki Giovanni .I consider my education and artistic upbringing a product of these influences. As a lifelong Southerner, Fisk graduate, returned Houston resident I am steeped in this lineage of Black artistic thought and the spiritual life that accompanied it. The aims of my work reflect the imperatives of those before me, to urge young Black artists to embrace their cultural inheritance while moving towards rebirth and renewal, and educate the greater populous on the evolution of Black art and the complexity of life it reflects.

Featured Artists

In a world of doubt, Who will?’’ – Printston Nnanna 

Prinston is a Brooklyn-based Artist by way of Houston, Texas, working primarily with charcoal, coffee, and acrylic inks. Mr. Nnanna is just beginning to exhibit his intimate, yet subversive, portraits. The charcoal drawn works on hand-toned paper have stood out in the group shows they have been a part of. Recurring motifs include butterflies, bees and geometric patterns that all have iconographical weight within the artist’s practice. His state goal is to “depict the elegance of the Black figure at the same time as reconstructing the image in which society has painted people of colour.”

He earned a BA in Arts at Texas Southern University (2016). While studying at Texas Southern Prinston was granted the opportunity to study abroad in Paris, France. There he focused on his cultural studies of the African Diaspora  which still has a great impact on his works today. Mr. Nnanna then went on to earn his MFA at The New York Academy of Art(2019).

Over the last year Nnanna’s work has been included in several group shows, Paper View, The Hole, Grand Rapids; Drawn Together Again, The Flag Art Foundation, New York; Breaching the Margins, Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, Grand Rapids and as a finalist in the 2019 AXA XL Catlin Art Prize Exhibition, New York Academy of Art, New York. Nanna won first prize for the 19th Annual Citywide African American Artists Exhibition, Houston (2017).

 

FreeWuhn

Frewuhn, whose moniker is derived from the meaning of her name, Franchelle, made her independent debut with Alternative Rock soul outfit Neon Collars in 2009, and has toured internationally with artists including CeCe Winans and Solange. Born in Houston Texas, her early beginnings singing in church was where she gained her first stage and songwriting experience. She graduated from Fisk University,with a B.A. in History and later earned her Masters of Theological Studies Religion in the Arts, from Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville, TN.

 

In 2018, she released her first solo album, Stupid Carnival, as well as a book of poetry The Color of Frequency, with an accompanying curriculum. She is currently developing her next musical and literary soundlabs.

Frewuhn is a performer, artist, educator and writer in pursuit of music as an agency of healing and insight to unlock the spiritual imagination.

 

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