N.C. Central University’s Art Museum paid homage to the artistry of African-American Women in its spring 2019 exhibition entitled “Connected: African-American Female Artists and North Carolina.”
Art productions specialist Christine M. Perry, who also currently serves as the Art Museum’s acting director, curated this exhibition and described it as being “unique.”
“It represents African-American females in the art industry,” Perry explained. “This exhibit just gives props to them.”
Perry emphasized that the artists featured in the exhibitions are connected to North Carolina by either birth or experience.
Some of those artists include Olivia Gatewood, Stephanie Pogue, Eve Evans, Faith Ringgold, Mabel Christine Bullock, and Chandra Cox.
The artist with the most works in the exhibition was Townsville, N.C. native Ruth Russell Williams, who had a solo exhibition in the NCCU Art Museum in 2009. Williams’ nostalgic touch makes her work some of Perry’s favorites.
Other featured connected the NCCU community was Beverly McIver, who earned a bachelor’s and honorary doctorate of fine arts from NCCU, Elizabeth Catlett, who taught at nearby Hillside High School, and Mercedes Thompson, a former NCCU art professor.
Perry wanted to do something in honor of Women’s History Month and “take it a little deeper,” which led to her idea behind the exhibition.
“The reality is that we are underrepresented in so many aspects of the world,” Perry said of African-American women. “I just wanted to give us a little love and attention.”
She expressed how the exhibition has had a positive impact on NCCU’s campus and the surrounding community since its opening. She also expressed her excitement towards having various attendees who traveled from outside of Durham to view the exhibition.
“It made me feel good, because even though so many of them are being underrepresented in the world of art, they are loved by the ones that know them,” Perry said about the displayed artists. “It’s a great feeling and I am glad that I get to provide these works for them.”
With the mixture of fanciful colors and quaint yet distinct messages in the art pieces from these artists, it is apparent why Perry and many others in the Durham community gravitated towards this exhibition.
“I am in total awe of the work,” Perry concluded. “I look forward to being able to produce more exhibitions like this.”
The Connected: African-American Female Artists and North Carolina exhibition began Feb. 10 and was displayed in the NCCU Art Museum until April 18.