This month of black history, instead of spending time like you would any other month in this already long year, why not take the time to learn and experience black culture in new ways? In addition to perhaps watching Judas and the black messiah on HBO Max or One night in Miami on Amazon Prime, venture into town – for sure – and take a look at some art.
Through art you can experience other people’s emotions, even if only for a moment, and imagine how they see the world.
“These exhibitions are just a small part of a much larger history [Black] an art production that deserves to be studied and shared throughout the year, ”says Miami curator Marie Vickles, who also serves as education director of the Pérez Museum of Art in Miami. “From this history, which has been passed down through generations of blacks, browns and indigenous peoples, exhibitions like” Local Global “and others can be born.”
As Vickles says, this list is just a fraction of what’s out there, and black artists should be celebrated throughout the year. But for starters, here are five places in Miami where you can check out the work of black artists this month.
Reginald O’Neal As I am on MOCA.
Photo by Diana Larrea
Reginald O’Neal As I am at the North Miami Museum of Contemporary Art
As part of MOCA new Beach Art Series, a fresh mural painted by local artist Reginald O’Neal is boldly placed on a wall near the fountain. Fresco, titled As I am, is available to anyone who will be able to see them until March 7. Painted in white, black and gray tones, the mural depicts scenes from O’Neal’s native Overtown. On one side, a group of small children are sitting on the porch of their house. On the other hand, a large group of adults gathers, standing proudly. Sharing the two scenes is a profile of a man with flowing dreadlocks, probably the artist himself, visually bridging the gap between the past and the present. O’Neal’s work strongly represents his origins and homage to his hometown. 770 NE 125 St., North Miami; 305-893-6211; mocanomi.org. Available free of charge outside the museum.
“Local Global”, in the Small Cultural Complex of Haiti
You can still look at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex 2020 Miami Art Week Exhibition “Local Global” curator Marie Vickles. The exhibition is open until February 28, so you can surround yourself with a multitude of brilliant black artists. Among the 30 artists who participated: Morel Doucet, Carl-Philippe Juste and Najja Moon. In addition, the Cultural Complex boasts a fantastic outdoor mural by Haitian artist Ralph Allen. 212 NO 59. terr., Miami; 305-960-2969; littlehaiticulturalcenter.com. Admission is free. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Purvis Young’s Untitled Book # 1, around 1996
Courtesy of the David Castillo Gallery
“Purvis Young: The Painter of Modern Life,” in the David Castillo Gallery
The original Purvis Young of the city, was perhaps one of the most prolific and famous artists to emerge from Miami in the last century. Young’s art focused predominantly on his culture and the experience of blacks living in the South. Posthumously, the artist is still amazed. The latest exhibition by gallerist David Castillo, “Purvis Young: The Painter of Modern Life,” is an extensive display of some of Young’s never-before-seen works. The exhibition includes 25 paintings and 11 books by Young, all parts of a private collection procured directly from the artist. The exhibition is open until March 31. 3930 NW Second Ave., Miami; 305-573-8110; davidcastillogallery.com. Admission is free. Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons’ Finding balance (2015).
Photo courtesy of El Espacio 23
“Witness: Afro Perspectives”, at 23 El Espacio
Jorge M. Pérez of the Pérez Museum of Art in Miami (PAMM) opened El Espacio 23 during Miami Art Week 2019. The philanthropist basically had too much art and concluded that the solution was a storage space in Allapattah. For Art Week 2020, several works from Pérez’s personal collection were exhibited in the space, this time focusing on the theme of the African diaspora. El Espacio 23 collaborated with South African curator Tandazani Dhlakama on the organization “Witness: Afro Perspectives.” That exhibition, which can still be viewed, includes more than 100 artists of African roots, including Mary Magdalene Campos-Pons, Carlos Martiel and David Koloane. The exhibition will be set up by the end of the year, by appointment only. 2270 NW 23rd St., Miami; 786-460-4790; elespacio23.com. Admission is free; only by agreement.
“Deja Vu,” at IPC ArtSpace
Photojournalist Carl-Philippe Juste founded the Iris (IPC) photo collection as a way to bring together fellow color artists and raise the work of each other. The organization runs the IPC ArtSpace in Little Haiti, where its current exhibition “Déjà Vu” features works by 25 artists, including Edouard Duval-Carrié, CW Griffin and Juste himself. The exhibition was originally supposed to end earlier this month, but was extended until February 26. The IPC also highlights black voices in the community through its Instagram account, @ipcartspace, all month. The IPC asks, “What does your blackness mean?” and contains photographs taken by Juste. 225 NE 59th St., Miami; 305-796-4718; irisphotocollective.com. Admission is by donation; days and hours vary.
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