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Two Black Artists and Their Urgent Work on Exhibit at Baltimore Museum of Art

THE AFRO — Two artists have exhibits that take on issues of violence, Black culture and identity in their own distinct ways.

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By George Kevin Jordan

Two artists have exhibits that take on issues of violence, Black culture and identity in their own distinct ways at the Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive, Baltimore, MD.

Mark Bradford most known for his large abstract pieces brings forth a body of work that infuses Greek mythology, poetry, hair salons and questions of identity.

“‘Tomorrow Is Another Day’ recycles ordinary materials in an homage to a shared American experience, recalling memories of his mother’s hair salon or the streets of Los Angeles,” according to the description of the exhibit.

When you first enter the exhibit space you are confronted with “Spoiled Feet” a collage installment that literally takes up the entire room. Its vibrant colors are only outmatched by its size. The space seems claustrophobic in conjunction with the piece. You are holding the walls to get through it. The lighting which places emphasis on the edge of the work, creates large looming shadows and only work to make the piece larger than life.

Another stand out installment is literally the centerpiece of one of the rooms. “Medusa” is a heap of coils and curls made from Acrylic paint, paper, rope and chalk. Though the title pulls from Greek mythology, in Bradford’s hands it takes the myth and places it on top of more modern forms of pop culture.

“In many ways Medusa wasn’t Medusa without being turned into Medusa by a man,” Bradford stated in his explanation of the piece. “Biggie made Lil’ Kim. This idea of the monster, hypersexualized, huge-butt, claw-like, long-weaved Superwoman – that’s all a fabrication of popular-culture male fantasy.”

As you leave the exhibit one of the more subtle, yet no less moving pieces is the short film “Niagara.” It shows a Black man walking down the street. It seems simple but is working on so many different levels. Bradford explained that it pays homage to Marilyn Monroe walking in a similar fashion in a 1953 film with the same name. But it invokes conversation about who gets to walk the streets, and pulls at questions of identity, gentrification and urban areas. It’s a perfect end to a bewildering and stimulating exhibit. Bradford’s work is on display until March 3.

Just down the hall in the American Art section is another exhibit with a different feel but no less urgent.

Ebony G. Patterson’s “…for little whispers…” is an exhibit that might have you revisiting it several times. That’s because the subject matter and work unravel in your brain over time.

At first glance the space looks like your stereotypical idea of a little girls room, with pink polkadot wallpaper and bright Hello Kitty dolls and toys everywhere. As you circle around the space you notice the walls are a little too dark for pink. They resemble red. And the deeply hued floor lends to a room that feels grave and dire. As you look in the corner, a kaleidoscope of butterflies take over the intersection of two walls. They look beautiful and pretty as individuals, but clustered together it makes the room feel ominous.

On top of a tapestry filled with more toys are several pairs of glass shoes. The work is a memorial to children killed in violent crimes. The piece is stark and unsettling as toys hide the darker crimes committed by adults on children. Just down the hall, a smaller piece of Patterson’s shows 150 guns decorated and painted and embroidered. All the pieces are mixed media, but the message is vivid and unsettling. Patterson’s exhibit will be on display until April 7.

The BMA is free and open to the public. To learn more about the exhibits please visit the website.

This article originally appeared in The Afro

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Art

Mayor Breed, Actor Morris Chestnut Attend S.F.’s Indie Night Film Festival

On June 1, the acclaimed Los Angeles-based Indie Night Film Festival arrived at the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco. San Francisco native Dave Brown, Founder and CEO of the Indie Night Film Festival, has a vision for the film industry that is squarely focused on promoting the many talented producers, actors, and designers contributing to this billion-dollar industry. The festival has been running for 12 years and it’s only up from here, he says.

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(Left to Right) Dave Brown, CEO, Indie Night Festival, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and actor Morris Chestnut. Photo by Y’Anad Burrell
(Left to Right) Dave Brown, CEO, Indie Night Festival, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and actor Morris Chestnut. Photo by Y’Anad Burrell

By Y’Anad Burrell

On June 1, the acclaimed Los Angeles-based Indie Night Film Festival arrived at the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco.

San Francisco native Dave Brown, Founder and CEO of the Indie Night Film Festival, has a vision for the film industry that is squarely focused on promoting the many talented producers, actors, and designers contributing to this billion-dollar industry.  The festival has been running for 12 years and it’s only up from here, he says.

A weekly celebration of cinematic artistry designed to elevate emerging talent while providing a platform for networking and collaboration, entrepreneur Dave Brown created Indie Night to bridge gaps within the filmmaking community by fostering connections between like-minded individuals worldwide. The Indie Film Festival currently has over 450 film submissions worldwide, and its cinematic vault only continues to grow.

The festival showcased over 10 short films and trailers, and featured Faces of the “City: Fighting for the Soul of America,” produced by veteran actor Tisha Campbell.  This film is about the vibrancy and legacy of San Francisco. The festival also previewed “When It Reigns,” a trailer by Oakland’s burgeoning filmmaker Jamaica René.

Indie films have not just challenged traditional cinematic norms; they’ve shattered them. These films offer unique storytelling perspectives and push creative boundaries in truly inspiring ways. With their smaller budgets and independent spirit, they often tackle unconventional subjects and portray diverse characters, providing a refreshing alternative to mainstream cinema. As a result, indie films have resonated with audiences seeking an escape from formulaic blockbusters and are increasingly celebrated for their authenticity and originality.

Organizers say the mission of Indie Night is to elevate the craft of independent artists and creators. It also provides a venue for them to showcase their work, network, and exchange information with new and established creatives. It creates a community that values and supports independent art.

For more about the Indie Night Film Festival, visit www.indienightfilmfestival.com.

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Art

El Cerrito Calls for Artists to Transform Its Utility Boxes

The City of El Cerrito’s Arts & Culture Commission is seeking individual artists, teams of artists or community groups to apply for its “2024 Utility Box Public Art Program.” The project is a beautification initiative designed to add to the vibrancy of the San Pablo Avenue corridor by having community artists transform unsightly utility boxes into attractive works of art, according to the City.

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An artist stands by their work that transformed the utility box from drab to fab. Photo courtesy of the City of El Cerrito.
An artist stands by their work that transformed the utility box from drab to fab. Photo courtesy of the City of El Cerrito.

By Kathy Chouteau

The Richmond Standard

Do you have an idea for beautifying urban public spaces with your art? If so, this initiative might be perfect for you.

The City of El Cerrito’s Arts & Culture Commission is seeking individual artists, teams of artists or community groups to apply for its “2024 Utility Box Public Art Program.” The project is a beautification initiative designed to add to the vibrancy of the San Pablo Avenue corridor by having community artists transform unsightly utility boxes into attractive works of art, according to the City.

This program’s theme is “Artwork that Celebrates El Cerrito’s Natural Beauty and Environment,” and any artist/team/community group residing in Contra Costa County can apply. The boxes, including one main utility box and a smaller traffic signal box adjacent to each other, are located at Ashbury and Fairmount Avenues, next to Harding Elementary School in El Cerrito.

A $2,500 stipend is offered for each utility box completed and the application is due Friday, June 14, at 4 p.m. Work on the boxes begins Aug. 5, with work to be completed by Sept. 6.

To date, eight utility boxes have been painted by local artists as part of the initiative throughout 2021 to 2023. Artists including Adaleyd DeLeon, Kristen Kong, Shanna Strauss, Martial Yapo, Jesse White and Ricardo Cerezo have been selected by the city to beautify utility boxes with their art since the program’s inception.

Questions? Contact Will Provost at 510-215-4318 or wprovost@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us. Applications can be submitted online https://el-cerrito.org/1522/Utility-Box-Public-Art-Program

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Art

Mario Van Peebles’ ‘Outlaw Posse’ Screened at Oakland’s Grand Lake Theatre

The Oakland International Film Festival hosted a screening of “Outlaw Posse” at the Grand Lake Theatre on Monday. Special guests included director/actor Mario Van Peebles and his co-star, Oakland native Scytorya Rhodes. The film is Peebles’ second western, the first being ‘Posse,’ 13 years ago.

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Film director Mario Van Peebles, who also stars in “Outlaw Posse,” appeared at a press conference held at RBA Creative on MacArthur Boulevard hosted by the Oakland International Film Festival. Photo By Carla Thomas.
Film director Mario Van Peebles, who also stars in “Outlaw Posse,” appeared at a press conference held at RBA Creative on MacArthur Boulevard hosted by the Oakland International Film Festival. Photo By Carla Thomas.

By Carla Thomas

The Oakland International Film Festival hosted a screening of “Outlaw Posse” at the Grand Lake Theatre on Monday. Special guests included director/actor Mario Van Peebles and his co-star, Oakland native Scytorya Rhodes. The film is Peebles’ second western, the first being ‘Posse,’ 13 years ago. Filmmaker Van Peebles shared his passion for independent artistry and producing projects with his son, Mandela, who also starred in the film, along with Whoopi Goldberg and Cedric the Entertainer. Next week, The Post will publish an in-depth interview featuring Peebles’ reflections on his work, future projects, and continuing his father’s legacy and Rhodes on her grandfather, a real-life cowboy.

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