Art Reception: The Black Family - Representation, Identity, and Diversity
March 11, 2021
Time: 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
"The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel." - Piet Mondrian
In 1915, Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). It was a way to collect information about black life in America and aid in understanding better, the unique experience that is being black in America. This was the beginning of what we now know as Black History Month, a period of celebration for the achievements of black people in America.
There is also an annual black history focus put forth by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) formerly the ASNLH. This year centers on the topic of “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity", because, “the family offers a rich tapestry of images for exploring the African American past and present." It is a focus on the ways in which black families in America do not exist in specific locations,often resulting in confusion as to how to represent historically this important “foundation” of African American life.
This exhibit collects from the art of the black artistic diaspora here in the Boston area. Pulling from these rich tapestries, this installation celebrates the works of 5 Black artists. Marla L. McLeod, Chanel Thervil, Anthony Peyton Young, Perla Mabel and Çaca Yvaire. Each artist influenced by their own black historical perspectives. Each childhood experienced in a different space, with different people, surrounded by a variety of genetic-ancestries and family dynamics. With each artist expressing their ideas from their distinct “black” experiences results in a rich variety of representation from unique identities with diverse perspectives. Those unique experiences have born the work that is featured in this exhibition, The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity. (Marla L. McLeod)
Marla L. McLeod
I create works that provide social commentary centered around how history and race relate to the power of the black body. My work unites symbolism from black history and modern black culture. I aim to combat false narratives and explore new ones by deciphering the past dehumanizing representations of black people while simultaneously emphasizing symbols of pride found in today’s Black American culture.
Perla Mabel Ledesma
The aim of Perla’s art is to empower the next generation of women to live righteously. “My portraits express the virtue of living as yourself in all aspects. Beauty comes in all shapes and forms—all colors and more. I would like to see my work developing into representation of women of color, then establishing the strength of women as a fundamental aspect to be normalized in societies that do not acknowledge nor respect the role that women play”. Perla’s oil paint and mixed media portraits “express the beauty and strength in santeria as a method of survival that has been passed on through generations in order to cope with the racism and discrimination people of color face everyday”. - Perla Mable Ledesma
Anthony Peyton Young
“Through painting and drawing, I investigate fabrications, fears, and false conceptions associated with Black bodies that are delivered to us through popular culture, the news media, whitewashed history, and racial stereotypes that have continuously morphed throughout time". Anthony Peyton Young’s ongoing project, “They Have Names” featured in this exhibit memorializes Black lives that were taken by police brutality. These works incorporate symbolic materials such as bleach, chalk, and asphalt paper to reflect the vulnerabilities connected to and branded into Black bodies through policing, social media, and cultural imprinting. "In my ongoing project, ‘They Have Names,’ I use portraiture to immortalize those who have been murdered because of hate crimes, police brutality, and fears associated with racial stereotyping—their names being all too often forgotten. In a destructive process, I create my imagery through cutting images apart, carving away blackness, both literally and figuratively, through bleaching, and re-connecting the pieces together in a gesture that symbolizes our shared unity and resilience.” - collecteurs.com
Chanel Thervil is a Haitian American artist and educator obsessed with all things art, pop culture, and history.
Upon roaming the halls of NYC museums as teen, she often found herself wondering why she felt so out of place. Fueled by her lack of satisfaction with the narrow range of representations of people of color on both sides of the canvas, Chanel decided to pursue a career in art. Her love for talking about art, doing research and dragging loved ones to museums that they would never walk into otherwise led her to completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting at Pace University and a Master's Degree in Art Education at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Recently, she's been making a splash in Boston via her public art, portraiture, and collaborations with institutions like The deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum, The Urbano Project, and PBS Kids.
"As an artist-researcher I explore potential routes as a fugitive planner looking towards, and sculpting space for, a future urbanity/urbanism that does not unmake or mar personhoods (Archipelagic, Indigenous, African, Woman, Trans, Riparian, etc) no matter the culture or climate".