Community Voices

Art Africa Miami in December showcases work of contemporary African-American artists

Ron Frazier looks at a bust of Barack Obama during the grand opening of Visions of Our 44th President at The Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater in Overtown on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The collective sculptural show was created to recognize and celebrate the historical significance of the first African-American President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.
Ron Frazier looks at a bust of Barack Obama during the grand opening of Visions of Our 44th President at The Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater in Overtown on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The collective sculptural show was created to recognize and celebrate the historical significance of the first African-American President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. For the Miami Herald

In Miami, the showing of black art has expanded into locations never imaged when Art Basel began in 2001 in Miami Beach. The same year in Miami’s Overtown, local black African-American artists Marvin Weeks and Dinizulu Gene Tinnie mounted a show at the Lyric in the then-newly restored original theater.

Without official recognition, black artists throughout the region began to add soul to Art Basel, which is considered by some the most comprehensive international contemporary fair in North America.

A decade later, local black architect Neil Hall, president of The Urban Collective, organized 21 artists of African descent. Through then-Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence Jones, the city of Miami’s Southeast Overtown Park West Community Redevelopment Agency sponsored an elaborate installation of contemporary African Art celebrating Art Basel’s 10th anniversary in 2011.

Named Art Africa Miami, the annual exhibition continues as the largest showcase of contemporary artists from the African Diaspora during Art Basel Week. Major sponsorship is through Miami Commissioner and CRA Chairman, Keon Hardemon. This year’s theme is AFROTOPIA. For more, visit www.theurbancollective.co/art-africa.

Pre- and post-event satellite fairs held across the railroad tracks from Miami Beach in heritage neighborhoods during Art Basel 2016, through Sunday and beyond, are highlighted below:

▪ Through Jan. 22: The fifth annual Art of Transformation “Say It Loud” Series Re-Images Blackness In America at the The ARC building, 675 Ali Baba Ave., in Opa-locka. The series, an exhibition and related programming presented by the Opa-locka Community Development Corp., is a celebration of the city’s revitalization through the arts. Curated by Tumelo Mosaka, the series is themed “SAY IT LOUD” and features work by contemporary artists Michael Paul Britto, Myra Greene, Joshua R. McFadden, Mario Pfeifer and Roberto Visani, and films by Bhawin Suchak & Ira McKinley and Stanley Nelson. www.opalockaart.com.

▪ Through Dec. 31: KROMA Art Space & Studios presents: Raison d’Art – A Celebration Of The Works Of David C. Driskell. African-American Works on Paper at the University of Maryland. kromamiami.com

▪ Through Feb. 28: The Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater presents the Visions of Our 44th President Barack Obama Exhibition, 819 NW Second Ave.

The exhibit is organized by the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Visions of Our 44th President Barack Obama is a collective cultural exhibition created to recognize and celebrate the historical significance of the first African-American president of the United States. Forty-four contemporary African-American artists, renowned and emerging, participated in the artistically innovative art collaboration with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and Peter Kaplan of Our World, to create the view into the images of our 44th president. Dynamic and inspiring, the exhibition includes 44 artists’ interpretations of Obama in life-size, three-dimensional busts that were sculptured by Matthew Gonzales for Our World. www.bahlt.org or 786-708-4610.

▪ Through March 31: “#Our Voice Matters” Photography Exhibit– at the Ward Rooming House Gallery, 249 NW Ninth St.

Urgent, in partnership with The Black Archives History & Research Foundation of South Florida, and funding from The Children’s Trust presents a multimedia exhibit of youth photography art and media. F.A.C.E (Film, Arts, Coding, Entrepreneurship). According to Shedia Nelson, Urgent’s program director for the Rites of Passage Program: “The exhibit showcases young people’s ability to critically examine complex sociopolitical and economic issues that impact their everyday lives.”

“Tapestry, Visual, Words” Urgent introduced the first of its Art Basel events at a reception at History Miami on Nov. 22. Pulitzer Prize-winning Miami Herald photojournalist Carl Juste led the exhibit in art mediums featuring tapestry, visual photography and word art. The youth reside in Historic Overtown, Liberty City and Little Haiti. For more, email stephanie@stephaniecreates.com.

▪ Through Sunday: Art Africa Miami Arts Fair presents Afrotopia at the newly renovated Clyde Killens Pool Hall at 920 NW Second Ave., in historic Overtown. Artists participating in the exhibition include Nakazzi Hutchinson, Turgo Bastien, Maximo Caminero, Miles Regis, Carl Craig, Ivan Cross, Doba Afolabi, Freddy Osorio, Rafel Lopez Ramos, Anthony Burks, Tessa Mars, Jean Sebastien, Dan Arian, Philippe Dodard, Solomon Adufah, Philippe Curtis, Najee Dorsey, Noel Theard, Guy Syllian, Christain Nicole, Gene Tinnie and Robert McKnight.

▪ Sunday brunch, noon to 3 p.m.: Chef Creole Seafood & Catering, 200 NW 54th St.

▪ Sunday, 1 to 3 p.m.: Art Talk #3. Celebrating the international decade for the people of African Descent through the Art of Black Miami & the rise of Contemporary African Diaspora Art in the European, American and Asian markets. Florida Memorial University Library, 15800 NW 42nd Ave., Miami Gardens. Moderator, Ludlow Bailey.

▪ Sunday, noon to 10 p.m.: Art of Black Miami at Ollivier’s Jazz Club, 777 NE 79th St. View artwork of Doba Afolabi. 786-323-7890.

Dorothy Jenkins Fields, PhD, is a historian and founder of the Black Archives, History and Research Foundation of South Florida Inc. Send feedback to djf@bellsouth.net.

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