Art Basel

From Africa to the Caribbean, artists of color shine at Miami Art Week

Damon Davis is among the artists whose works will be shown at Prizm Art Fair in Miami. On Friday, Davis will participate in an artist talk with Phillip Agnew, artist and co-founder of Dream Defenders, and Patrisse Cullors, artist and co-founder of Black Lives Matter, at Smoke Signals Studio, which is showing his “Darker Gods” exhibit.
Damon Davis is among the artists whose works will be shown at Prizm Art Fair in Miami. On Friday, Davis will participate in an artist talk with Phillip Agnew, artist and co-founder of Dream Defenders, and Patrisse Cullors, artist and co-founder of Black Lives Matter, at Smoke Signals Studio, which is showing his “Darker Gods” exhibit. Courtesy of Prizm Art Fair.

The African diaspora comes to Art Week this year, as fairs and venues across the city highlight works by artists from Lagos, Nigeria, to Miami to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Now in its sixth year, PRIZM Art Fair will showcase works by established and emerging artists of color, including some Miami-based practitioners, at its popular PRIZM Art Fair, 169 E. Flagler St.

Founded by Miami native Mikhaile Solomon, PRIZM is set far from the glitz of Art Basel but offers equally inspiring works and creativity. This year, 63 artists from 15 countries on four continents will be exhibited. Countries represented include the Bahamas, Barbados, Costa Rica, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States.

Solomon founded the fair after noting an absence of African-diaspora visual arts and aesthetic landscapes during Basel week. Her work, “The Dark Horse,” explores how the disenfranchised have surmounted challenge to build a prosperous future. Peru-born artist William Cordova, who grew up in Miami, also takes on the intersection of futurism, ritual and folklore in his work “Transceivers: channels, outlets and forces.”

The program also includes thought-provoking discussions and films. It opens at 10 a.m. Tuesday, with a public opening reception sponsored by the Miami Downtown Development Authority from 4 to 8 p.m. The fair continues Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Day passes cost $15; students pay $5.

 Jared McGriff.jpg
Jared McGriff is among the artists showcased at Prizm Art Fair in Miami. Courtesy Prizm Art Fair

Other highlights include:

  • Wednesday, 4 to 5:30 p.m., “The Living Legacy National Speaking Tour” panel discussion with Professors David C. Driskell and master painter Curlee R. Holton. This event will highlight Driskell’s legacy as an artist, scholar and cultural historian, and highlight the contributions of other African-American artists.
  • Thursday, 2 to 4 p.m., the film “Life is Fare,” exploring three perspectives on the East African nation of Eritrea. The film follows Sephora, an idealistic young Eritrean American, as she pitches a well-intended but ludicrous film idea to her traditional mother.
  • Friday, 5 to 8 p.m. A program of performance artworks.
  • Saturday, 9 p.m. Special performance by a musical guest to be announced.

Haiti connection

At Art Beat Miami, a half-dozen Miami artists and artisans present work focusing on Haiti. In its fifth year, the fair is hosted by Little Haiti Optimist, Northeast Second Avenue Partnership and Haiti’s Ministry of Culture and Communications. Among the Haiti-based artists included are painters Jerry R. Moise, Valerie Noisette and Leroy Exil. For those seeking wearable art, the culture ministry has flown in fashion designers Phelicia Dell, Danick Lemithe, and David Andre. Dell, whose new line features sisal, and Lemithe, who works with leather, are known for their Haiti-inspired handbags while Andre is known for his versatile men’s and women’s clothing.

“Last year Haiti sent only artists, but this year it is also incorporating artisans and designers,” said Merline Joseph of MJ Consultant Group, which is working with Haiti’s culture ministry to bring the artist in. “The minister really wants to promote not only the artists but the Haitian artisans. He wants people to come and see their work and hopefully support them.”

The art fair kicks off 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday with a free musical performance by Haitian singer and producer J Perry in the Caribbean Marketplace and runs through Sunday. All events will take place at the Little Haiti Cultural Center and Caribbean Marketplace, 212 NE 59th Terr. The fair is curated by Miami Herald Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Carl Juste. Information at; 305-492-7868.

On the agenda:

  • Thursday, Jean Michel Lapin, Haiti’s minister of culture and communication, will moderate a “Conversation with the Artists” featuring painter Valerie Noisette from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, also in the marketplace.

  • Friday, the focus turns to food with the popular “Spice it Up Miami,” 7 to 10 p.m. with Haitian chef and author Nadege Fleurimond, mixologist Mixo Michou, Pedestal Dessert and Chef the Rose of CUBAOCHO. Cost is $65 and tickets can be purchased at

  • Saturday offers another chance to savor Haitian and Caribbean cuisine from six master chefs. The 2018 Chefs of the Caribbean Celebrity Brunch will feature singers Phyllisia Ross and Renette Desir. Guests will enjoy meals from chefs Dominique, Creole, Danny, Yvette Michelle LaCrette, Jouvens, Rose and Irie. Cost is $50. For tickets go to
  • Saturday evening, the festival presents an open-microphone poetry event from 6 to 8 p.m.
  • The fair concludes with Sip & Paint afternoon, noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

More black art

  • Art Africa Miami Arts Fair again showcases film, fashion and artwork from Dec. 5-9 in historic Overtown, noon to 8 p.m. daily. 920 NW Second Avenue;
  • Photographer Marc Baptiste and the Haitian Heritage Museum present “Haiti a La Mode,” with an opening reception 6 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, 4141 NE 2nd Ave. The exhibit, seeking to change the narrative of Haiti by focusing on its positive offerings, runs through April 30. RSVP at
  • The Lab Miami, 400 NW 26th St., presents “Let There Be Reggae,” a curated snapshot of reggae music and dance-hall culture. Though not part of Art Week, the exhibit on reggae music, which runs through Friday, offers another chance for art and music aficionados to experience Caribbean culture during Art Basel. It opens Thursday 6-10 p.m.; tickets for the reception cost $25 with tickets available online at and at the door. Friday entry is free.

  • Artist Damon Davis creates a world where deities of color reclaim their identities through the supernatural in the Afro-surrealist project “Darker Gods in the Garden of the Low Hanging Heavens.” The opening reception is Thursday, 7 to 10 p.m., at 6300 NW Second Ave. From 4 to 5 p.m. Friday, Davis will participate in an artist talk with Phillip Agnew, artist and co-founder of Dream Defenders, and Patrisse Cullors, artist and co-founder of Black Lives Matter. The free exhibit runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

  • New Orleans comes to Miami as some of Louisiana’s most gifted visual artists display their work 7 to 10 p.m., Friday at the Roots Collective Black House, 5505 Northwest 7th Ave. The event is free. RSVP at Eventbrite.
  • “A Place to Say Sukii Exhibition 004” runs Saturday and Sunday at Smoke Signals Studio. Brunch and garden tea party, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; open gallery Sunday 2 to 4 pm., followed by “Our Basel,” 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday, $20 cover charge; RSVP required. Tickets at For a list more events go to

  • “Welcome to the Afrofuture,” a four-day art-and-performance activation hosted by The Urban, launches Thursday at 4 p.m. at 1000 NW Second Avenue in Overtown and curated by Gia Hamilton. Artists Nate Dee, Marcus Blake, Ceaux and Brandan Odums will paint murals of Overtown heroes Dana Albert Dorsey, Purvis Young, Clyde Killens and Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields. All events are free; rsvp at
  • The Betsy hotel on Miami Beach presents “Crosscurrents: The African Diaspora in the Global Continuum,” a discussion with Dr. Deborah Willis of New York University; Marilyn Holifield, Esq.; Rosie Wallace-Gordon, founder of Diaspora Vibe; and author Geoffrey Philp Friday at 1 p.m.; free. Through May 1, the hotel gallery presents “Wait Still: Photography in the Global Continuum.”
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami presents “AFRICOBA: Messages to the People,” marking 50 years since the founding of the black artist collective that helped define the 1960s and 70s. Curator Jeffreen M. Hayes and founding and early collective members will be on hand for a Dec. 6 opening celebration from 8- 11 p.m. at N.E. 125th St., North Miami; // $20.
  • The Rubell Family Collection presents 100 works by the late Purvis Young through spring. Free through Dec. 9, open 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. 95 NW 29th Street; //
  • Perez Art Museum Miami presents “Ebony G. Patterson...while the dew is still on the roses...” through May 5. 1103 Biscayne Blvd., 305-375-3000;
  • The Lowe Art Museum hosts a talk with Hank Willis Thomas at noon, Dec. 9, at University of Miami’s Storer Auditorium. His presentation caps the Lowe Art Museum’s annual Art Basel brunch, a bargain at $12.50. 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., 1301 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables.

  • For more information about artists of color in Miami, see