Women have long been keepers of our history and creativity. I have the pleasure of knowing, supporting, and being friends with some of the best Black women artists and historians of our day.
Recently, I had the honor of attending the ARTTABLE awards at SoFi Stadium paying tribute to Shirley Kinsey and the Kinsey Collection. Their family collection is an African American Art and History Collection celebrating African American achievements and contributions from 1595 to the present and striving to dispel the “myth of absence” through authentic artifacts and fine art that helps to fill in the blanks of American history. This information is imperative to the future of our narrative. To learn more visit TheKinseyCollection.com.
The evening celebrating Shirley Kinsey brought together the community to honor her contribution to keeping our stories alive, as well as art and history collectors from across the nation. One of the attendees was acclaimed artist Phoebe Beasley. Ms. Beasley is known for her collage style of art (Phoebebeasley.com). On display at the ARTTABLE Award celebration was a piece she did of Shirley Kinsey several years ago that is simply timeless.
The event also brought out community leaders such as Bishop Charles Blake and his family, Chris and Katrina Schauble, Dr. Michele Turner, Attorney Al Davis, and the Honorable Jan Perry just to name a few. It is important for all of us to work on keeping our history alive and not just during Black History or Women’s History Months.
There are many women over time that have kept our history flowing through various forms of art. An African American female pioneer painter was Clementine Hunter who was a self-taught folk artist painter. Amy Sherald is a painter who enjoys depicting African Americans in everyday life through portraits. She was commissioned to paint former First Lady Michelle Obama’s portrait.
Locally here in Southern California we also have Synthia Saint James, she is an American visual artist, author, speaker, and educator. She is best known for designing original colorful art pieces. She also prides herself with her multicultural work. I have two pieces of her work hanging in my home (ateliersynthiasaintjames.com).
Closing out Black History Month and ushering in Women’s History Month, the Ebell Club of Los Angeles founded in 1894 by a small group of women who were determined to advance women’s opportunities in education, civic improvement, and every branch of culture, hosted fellow Ebell member, acclaimed artist Phoebe Beasley to share her story and body of work.
Although the club was started by White women of the Los Angeles area, over the years the club has evolved and become more diverse. I am happy to be a member and part of that growth.
All of us can be keepers of our art and history, especially our own family history. I enjoy working on my family’s history and documenting it through photos and oral stories. This past year, I worked on putting together my paternal side of the family’s history in book form so that it could be documented for future generations, and it made a great Christmas gift.
I have always loved knowing about my family history and when I became a mother even more so, but when I became a grandmother, I knew I had to make it my mission to keep our history alive.
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Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker.