Honoring the Black in US

Honoring The Black in US
Exhibit Dates: February 3, 2023 – March 4, 2023

Opening Receptions to meet the artists:
RSVP on eventbrite: Friday Feb 3, 4-6pm. and Saturday Feb 4, 2-6pm   |
At 1429 Iris Street NW, Washington DC, 20012

Featuring Artists: Doba Afolabi, Ram Brisueno, Sheryll Cashin, Wesley Clark, Julee Dickerson-Thompson, Bulsby “Buzz” Duncan, Robert Freeman, Aziza Claudia Gibson-Hunter, Carolyn Goodridge, Bernie Houston, Hubert Jackson, Chris Malone, Kristine Mays, Ibou N’Diaye

Doba Afolabi was born in the mountains of southwest Nigeria and credits his mother, who was a versatile dancer, as the fundamental force behind his flair for expression. Monet, Van Gogh, Degas and Yoruba stylized carvings were later influences on Afolabi. Doba studied at the famous Zaria Art School. While still in school, he became known as one of the “Zaria Rebels,” an artist’ school known for their experimental style and bold color palette. Briefly, he worked for the United Nations as a graphic designer. He also spent some time teaching art at Yaba Technical College, in Lagos, Nigeria, before eventually immigrating to New York City.

Ram Brisueno’s work uses a variety of mediums, materials, and objects to create narratives that relate to personal identity and social perceptions with an emphasis on highlighting textures, color, and form. His work brings together, with attention, to both surface and concealed images and meanings revealed through intuitive responses allowing a compositional unity that creates themes of mythmaking and personal identity. An artist he admires, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, put it simply “Above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed: I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea, and I had a good purpose and that’s why I made works of art.”

Sheryll Cashin studied painting for years at the Corcoran School of Art, and was an active member of A. Salon, Ltd. artists’ cooperative (now known as DC Arts Studios) and in 1996 began selling large acrylic paintings of famous and ordinary African Americans. Early collectors of Cashin’s work included Peggy Cooper Cafritz, Ambassador Susan Rice and executive Robert Mallett. Known as an author and law professor at Georgetown Law, Cashin’s latest book, White Space, Black Hood illuminates residential caste and the systems of American racial inequality. “I made these collages as an act of self-care in a time of ugliness. In works like, Breonna Taylor, Her Life Mattered I surround Black women in nature and imagine them being healed. I was healed as I produced them. Beauty and internal peace are their own form of resistance.”

 Wesley Clark’s work challenges and draw parallels between historical and contemporary cultural issues. His primary focus surrounds blacks in America and the African Diaspora. He examines the psyche of young black males feeling like a target and being targeted. Clark questions tradition or the lack of tradition and the role it plays on one’s values today. Objects that are antiques or antiqued are associated with historical relevance and wealth. By placing these issues in an antiqued object, he established the value in furthering a discussion around a particular issue. Analyzing historic and present social and economic disparities are what shape Clark’s conceptual process.

Julee Dickerson-Thompson is a multi-media artist.  Her work ranges from painting & soft sculpture/fiber into public art and illustration. Julee is noted for a unique, stylized approach to line drawing that becomes characteristic of her work in all forms of media. “A spiritual momentum is ever present as I explore the Creator’s metaphors by allowing myself to become a vessel for my work.  It is a moment of sweet surrender when I can truly open my pores and allow my soul to be guided spontaneously by painting my libations.” Her goal is “to nourish and delight…the eye…the soul…the Spirit!”

Bulsby Duncan born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in Washington, DC. Buzz is a self-taught artist whose work can be described as deeply emotional and filled with energy. Buzz traces his artistic influence on the great abstract expressionists, and contemporary artists of the 20th Century. Duncan was our first-place winner from our RESIST exhibit in 2017! Duncan’s work is inherently filled with emotional energy, from his abstract pieces to his graffiti style paintings. He addresses social issues such as police brutality with symbols referring to Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin, mass incarceration, and gun violence with paying homage to one of the greatest graffiti painters, Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Robert Freeman Robert Freeman has been showing nationally for over 45 years and has been included in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the National Center for African American Artists, Boston Public Library, Brown University and DeCordova Museum, among other institutions. In addition to numerous galleries shows, his paintings have been featured in exhibitions at DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA, Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA. He earned his BFA and MFA from Boston University. Known for his vivid and powerful figurative paintings, Robert Freeman has traditionally focused on the interactions between people in his work. In couples and crowds, the characters in his paintings betray their emotions with expressive faces and body language. Skillful, brave use of color and gesture are the trademark of Freeman’s work and make his figures nearly abstract.

Claudia “Aziza” Gibson-Hunter is a mixed media artist She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Temple University, (BS), and received her MFA from Howard University. She combines painting, collage, and printmaking to create abstract works surrounding narratives, of agency, healing, memory, expressed through a condensed notion of time. Aziza utilizes color, texture, rhythm, pattern, as tools and acrylic paints, colored pencil, handmade and commercial papers are materials most frequently employed. Unusual juxtapositions of colors, media, technique, and forms help to identify her aesthetic. She is open to other media if it will clarify a narrative.

Carolyn Goodridge, born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies and immigrated to the U.S. in 1963. Goodridge was brought up in a Pentecostal environment and later became widely read in Eastern philosophies.  She landed in the Kwan Um School of Zen, residing at their Chogye International Zen Center in New York by age 19. The late Zen Master Seung Sahn Sunim taught the artist about “Zen mind.” Her artwork is broadly inspired by these teachings. Goodridge states: “The materials used in my work are organic: melted beeswax with natural pigments, resin made of sap from Malaysian fir trees, rice paper, wood and sometimes glass. Using encaustic, I enjoy contrasting, not only organic and geometrical shapes, but also smooth and rough texture, as well as dull and shiny reflective surfaces.

Claudia “Aziza” Gibson-Hunter is a mixed media artist that combines painting, printmaking, collage and assemblage in her work. She investigates themes of identity, agency, and memory using acrylic paint, ink, and colored pencil. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Aziza graduated from Temple University, (BS), and received her MFA from Howard University. Ms. Gibson-Hunter has been awarded the Individual Artist Fellowship Program Grant, from the DC Commission of the Arts and Humanities numerous times. Her work can be found in the collections of the Washington DC Art Bank, the US Embassies in Liberia, and Togo, as well as the collections of Montgomery County Maryland, the National Institutes of Health, and the Boston Children’s Hospital. She has created public works for Washington DC through the Department of General Services. These works, The Wall of Unity (2017) and, ANCESTORS, (2019) are both located in Washington, DC public schools. Ms. Gibson-Hunter is a member of the Black female collectives, Dandelion Black, and WOAUA. She is a co-founding member of Black Artists of DC and has a studio located within the STABLE art complex in Washington, DC.

Francine Haskins is a mix-media fiber artist, doll maker, quilter, author/illustrator, teacher and storyteller. A Corcoran School of Art graduate who also trained at Catholic University in oil painting and the Smithsonian Associate Program in fabric design, Haskins began her art career at “The New Thing” Art and Architecture center as a graphic artist. She has participated in artists’ trade shows including: Black Memorabilia and Doll Shows, to the great Black Arts Festival in Atlanta Georgia, and the Smithsonian’s Folklife festival. Francine has exhibited widely in museums and galleries across the United States and has been a part of numerous panels on folk art and folklore. One the founding members of the legendary 1800 Belmont Arts (Arts collective), Haskins is renowned for her quilts, her soft sculpture dolls.

Bernie Houston graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in 1984 and has been a driftwood sculptor ever since. Houston spends his time on the Chesapeake, finding that perfect piece of driftwood for his carefully composed sculptures. Each piece is shaped by nature and inspired from its natural structure. After visualizing each driftwood piece, he cures, sands, carves, paints and polishes each creation. He sculpts everything from animals to people to objects. Because nature does not mimic itself, his entire body of work is one-of-a-kind. There is not a single piece like it on the planet

Hubert Jackson was born in Culpeper, Virginia. After graduating from Virginia State University, he moved to Washington D.C in 1971 and earned his MA in painting from Howard University. In the early 1970s, he participated in the historical national movement of community-based mural projects under the advisement and mentorship of master artist Hughie Lee-Smith. Jackson’s work is in a number of private collections throughout the U.S. and has been shown in foreign countries such as Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Lesotho, New Guinea and Rwanda through the Artist-in-Embassies Program, run by the U.S. Department of State.

Chris Malone is a self-taught artist and former Zookeeper. During lock-down Chris has been experimenting with different styles and techniques with creativity in ceramic sculpture. Chris believes that we must allow ourselves to take chances with our creativity and “think outside of the box.” Shown widely around the US his art graces collections nationally and internationally.

Ibou N’Diaye is a traditional Malian sculptor. He comes from a region in Mali known as “Dogon Country” which is known as a center for African Sculpture. He learned to sculpt using traditional tools such as hatchets, chisels, files and adzes. He prefers to work with very hard woods, such as ebony and mahogany. Ibou combines both modern and traditional imagery in his sculptures

Sabiyha Prince is an artist and anthropologist whose paintings explore memory, personal growth, identity, and African American experiences in the US, delving into anti-racism, environmental justice and other issues to inform her visual work.

Billye Schley exhibit includes colorful drawings and lushly embellished work in fiber, beadwork and semiprecious gems. She brings new vibrance and attention to the art of fine needle painting

Khalid Thompson has a broad creative style and uses various techniques to apply paint to his canvases, as well as performing “live” paintings in collaboration with musicians. In the artist’s words, “I see a relationship between sound and color, I mean, there’s an obvious relationship. I think that what I attempt to do when I’m performing live is to kind of get visual jazz. Something that has a musicality of feel that is encoded on the canvas. That you can feel the spontaneity, that it was done very in the moment so it’s almost like a recording of the experience. So, it was just about tapping into that connection between music and painting. I express the intensity of my feelings primarily through color and secondarily through stroke. By applying contrasting colors with vigorous strokes and various images of reconfigured media, I strive to cultivate a visual scape that electrically charges the space and viewer experience. It is very important to me that my art generate a continual dialogue with the audience. I always tell people that I want my work to “live” on their walls, meaning that every time a person repeatedly engages with my art they see and feel something new. I want them to connect with and sense the sparks of my creative process.”

Curtis Woody refers to his artworks as “mixed media quilt paintings.’ Woody’s mixed media quilt paintings start with hand cut museum board blocks that are painted, embellished, scratched, and merged to form extremely well-composed, thought-provoking collages that are not terribly pre-planned, but rather, let the feelings and emotions of the overall design dictate how each block fits together. Woody allows the colors, patterns, and textures to direct these compositions. Many of his pieces include replicas of vintage newspaper advertisement, newspaper articles, or photographs – all included because they accentuate the composition, while adding a symbolic richness to the work. The result is a work that strikes the balance between spontaneity and a carefully planned composition of historical relevance.

Now celebrating 44 years in the nation’s capital, Zenith is recognized for its unique mix of contemporary art in a wide variety of media, style, and subject. The gallery provides high-quality acquisition, art consulting, commissioning, appraisal, and framing services, through its gallery/salon/ sculpture garden off 16th Street at 1429 Iris St NW, WDC 20012. Zenith also curates rotating exhibits at the Eleven Sculpture Space at 1111 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, WDC 20004.