Personal Narratives: Diaspora
For Immediate Release
From: Clover’s Fine Art Gallery
338 Atlantic Ave.
Boerum Hill, Brooklyn
Personal Narratives: Diaspora
February 11th – March 8th
Opening Reception February 13th - 4-6pm
Five Black artists are feature in Personal Narratives: Diaspora, an exhibition honoring Black History Month, opening Saturday, February 13, and running through, Monday, March 8, at Clover’s Fine Art Gallery, 338 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn
The artists, through their work, share their personal narratives of identity, race and history. They are:
Johnnie Bess, a graduate of Howard University, is an artist, educator, and youth mentor for teens in Washington, D.C. His portraits are of friends in their natural urban environments. Bess “I am attempting to create a body of images,” he says, “that is reflective of those marginal and subtle nuances of daily life especially in the lives of indigenous peoples and African descendants throughout the Diaspora. I hope for these images to reflect the dynamic nature of the lives of people whom all too often in the visual arena are reduced to stereotypes and caricatures of themselves.” Playin Ya’self captures a young adolescent boy acting like tough guy with a cap gun. The adolescent is simultaneously threatening and innocent. The imagined background of the cityscape shows an abandoned lot and a one way sign, the painting captures a youth’s reaction to the social and media influences encompassing his youth.
Noel Copeland is a painter, sculptor, and draftsman, reminiscent of a Jamaican Picasso. And the founder of Monoco designs, an acronym for More Noel Copeland. His hand-crafted pottery combines traditional Japanese design with Jamaican characters and colors. He has installed public sculpture for the MTA at the East Broadway subway stop, and has shown internationally. In Personal Narratives: Diaspora, Copeland is showing pieces he has not shared before. The Gunman is a portrait of the artist’s brother who was gunned down at age 26 in gang violence in the 1980’s. Crack Head is a plaster portrait head penetrated with crack vials, similar in shape to a desperate face from Picasso’s Guernica. His limited color palette drawings are collages of memory and narrative. They are intimate reflections of subconscious, reflecting the inner Noel Copeland.
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is originally from Oklahoma City. “My work,” she explains, “is inspired by the distress and injustices that people around the world continue to experience. It's inspired by the beam of a child's innocent smile. It's inspired by the solemn look in a heartbroken woman's eyes. I'm an oil painter focusing on figures and portraits - portraits of people that have affected my life and the world that I live in.” Fazlalizadeh has been published in numerous magazines including The Source and Beyond Race - and has shown in a number of art galleries along the east coast including the historic inauguration exhibit, Manifest Hope:DC, in January 2009.
Francis Simeni was born in Lagos, Nigeria and was raised in Poland and then New York City. Having studied Illustration and Toy Design at FIT; Simeni works in oil, acrylic, watercolor and ink. He uses a limited palette on wood panels. His imagery comes from a collection of historic and personal sources. Sovereignty, an acrylic and oil on wood panel, depicts the story of King Leopold II of Belgium, who ran the Congo under a brutal regime. It became one of the most infamous international scandals of the turn of the 20th century.
Alexandria Smith is an MFA candidate at Parsons School of Design and an art educator in Harlem. Her drawings and paintings depict the continued story telling of the same character. “Chronicling the experience of being an African-American middle-class girl,” she says, “in present day society is the point of focus of my artwork. The desire and longing to belong is echoed in the portraits of these young preadolescent girls.” At Clover’s Fine Art Gallery, Smith is exhibiting a series of her small drawings that describe the journey of her character. The young girl is shown in a story book format as she searches for identity. The paintings, oil on wood panel, have a brighter color palette, and show the child engaged with classic American childhood experiences.