New Exhibition Erases Distinction Between Fine Arts and Crafts or Intuitive Art
“Inside My Head: Intuitive Artists of African Descent,” an exhibition opening at the California African American Museum (CAAM) today, will showcase the work of 32 artists, many of them local, who have developed a mature style mostly on their own. While a number of artists in the show are self-taught, others with formal training have deviated from it to evolve towards a very personal vision, often ignoring the mainstream art world.
According to CAAM curator Mar Hollingsworth, who assembled the exhibition, what seems to unite all these creators is their search for an unadulterated truth, a sense of authenticity that often manifests in representational artwork that celebrates their Black heritage and their physical, spiritual and cultural environment. Some of the artists presented here work with media that has been widely recognized as belonging to the “fine arts” realm, while others create pieces that have been only marginally considered as such.
“One of the main purposes of this exhibition is precisely to erase such boundaries,” she explains. “Whether the creator makes a sculpture out of marble or a quilted dress with fabric remnants, the final product stands on its own in terms of quality of execution, design and composition. The exhibition will prove that artistic expression can be manifested in many forms and through many techniques, independently of schooling, and that the transition between art and craft may be seamless.”
The exhibition, she explains, tries to shed some light on the many ways creativity and artistic expression can flourish, as well as to validate a body of work that may not be sanctioned by the “cutting-edge” establishment. “In many ways,” she adds, “African American artists have been outsiders for centuries– they were excluded from the mainstream galleries and museums, since their sense of creativity and subject matter were often distinctively unique and deeply rooted in cultural traditions.”
The exhibition is divided into areas that follow specific themes: Dreams, Visions and Recollection, Fantastic Creatures, Pride and Recognition, Spirituality and the Divine, and The Power of Transformation. Included are paintings, sculptures, collages, assemblages, photographs, videos, dolls, garments and jewelry. Thirty-two contemporary artists are represented in the show. They are: Jaami Abdul-Khaliq Abdul-Samad, Donna Angers, Floyd Bell, Patricia Boyd, Angela Briggs, Tracy Brown, Yrneh Brown, Ron Carrington, Chukes, Cola, Madi Comfort, Charles Dickson, Graham Goddard, Deidre Greene, Mamie Hansberry, Stephen Hardy, Sy Hearn, Elton Henderson, Ronald Jackson, Michael Massenburg, Bridgitte Montgomery, Dominique Moody, Anne Myatt, Elliott Pinkney, Noah Purifoy, AydeÅ½ Rodrâ€™guez, Toni Scott, Karen Seneferu, Malik Seneferu, Dorothy Taylor, Teresa Tolliver and Timothy Washington.
A series of programs have been organized, providing the opportunity to create one’s own art with the tutelage of some of the featured artists. To reserve space or for more information about a program, call 213.744.2024 or visit the Web site at www.caamuseum.org. The scheduled programs are as follows:
Sunday, May 10, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
“To Honor Your Ancestors”
Guided by artist Cola, use cigar boxes and recycled materials to create a one-of-a-kind altar.
Saturday, May 23, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
“African Wrap Dolls”
Make an African wrap doll with wire, fabrics and other adornments. Instructor: Teresa Tolliver.
Saturday, June 6, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
“Paper, Scraps and Lots of Fun”
Join collage artist Jaami Abdul-Khaliq in creating a one of a kind, mixed-media masterpiece.
Saturday, June 20, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
“Let Your Imagination Race”
Charles Dickson shows how to assemble a racecar from plastic bottles, paper, wood and rubber.
Sunday, July 12, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
“Fiber Art Jewelry”
Using fabrics, felt and beads, Dorothy Elliott-Taylor guides participants in making a soft jewel.
Saturday, July 25, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
“Secrets from the Master”
Learn unusual clay-building techniques and model your own head structure with artist Chukes.
Saturday, August 1, 1:00 – 3:00pm
“Panel discussion: Who is in, who is out?”
Participate in a lively dialog among African American intuitive artists from our community.
Saturday, August 15, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
“Mosaic Your World”
Create a unique terrestrial globe decorated with glass, tile, china and found objects. Lead by artist Dominique Moody.
Saturday, September 5, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
“Fold Away Memories Art Book”
Angela Briggs teaches her technique of folding pages into pockets to store sacred memories.
The California African American Museum (CAAM) researches, collects, preserves and interprets for public enrichment the history, art and culture of African Americans. Chartered by the California State Legislature in 1977, CAAM is a state supported institution and a partner with the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization Friends, the Foundation of the California African American Museum. In addition to its permanent collection, CAAM hosts specially mounted exhibitions curated through loans and its own collection, and tours CAAM exhibitions throughout California and the nation. Located at 600 State Drive in Exposition Park, the museum is open to the public Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, and Sundays, 11am – 5pm. Parking in the adjacent lot is $8.00 all day. Enter the lot from Figueroa and 39th Streets. Admission and workshop participation is always free.