Between Yesterday and Tomorrow – Perspectives from Local Black Artists
Between Yesterday and Tomorrow, Perspectives from Black Contemporary Artists in San Antonio will have its opening reception from 6 pm to 9 pm on Jan. 10 at the Culture Commons Gallery at City Hall at 115 Plaza De Armas.
This event is free and open to the public and is part of DreamWeek San Antonio 2023. The exhibit will be displayed from Jan. 19 to Nov. 17.
Curated by Barbara Felix and presented by The City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture, this exhibition will showcase a multifaceted collection of local Black artists as they share their cultural and life experiences through their work. Themes include Black history and identity, family dynamics, social connections, spirituality and resilience. The artworks include drawing, painting, photography, mixed media, digital media, assemblage, sculpture and quilting.
The 18 artists presented in this exhibition are actively engaged in their artistic practices. Each brings a unique perspective, covering Black history and identity topics, family dynamics, social connections, personal human experience, spirituality, and resilience.
“The goal was to drive the collective vision of Black contemporary artists as documentarians of the historical and social conscience of their time,” Curator Barbara Felix commented. “When the individual selected works came together in the gallery, I realized the prospect of this show was coming to fruition in a way that beautifully celebrates each artist and their vision.”
Featuring artworks by Carmen Cartiness Johnson, John Coleman, Kaldric Dow, Kwanzaa Edwards, Anthony Francis, Alain Boris Gakwaya, Deborah Harris, Edward Harris, Paul Hurd, Alethia Jones, Theresa Newsome, Wardell Picquet, Calvin Pressley, Don Stewart, Naomi Wanjiku, Angela Weddle and Bernice Appelin Williams.
Culture Commons is located in the Plaza de Armas Building and is managed by the Department of Arts & Culture. It consists of a storefront gallery on the first and second floors and a 1,500 sq. ft. exhibit hall that features visual art exhibits, performances, invited speakers, and workshops.
The vision for Culture Commons is to serve as the City of San Antonio’s cultural space that integrates the arts into civic conversation by encouraging creativity, supporting local culture, and engaging the community in transforming the future.
The exhibit hours are Wednesday through Friday from 11 am to 4 pm and it’s closed during holidays.
San Antonio Chooses New Poet Laureate
The City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture officially appointed Nephtali De León as San Antonio’s new Poet Laureate. De León will serve as the City’s sixth Poet Laureate for a three-year term spanning April 1, 2023 – March 31, 2026.
About the Program
The duty of the Poet Laureate is to promote poetry and the literary arts in San Antonio and is tasked with developing innovative and inspiring public events and programs in conjunction with local organizations and the Department of Arts & Culture. The Poet Laureate also makes special appearances and attends various functions throughout their term. The Poet Laureate initiative has led to a greater appreciation and understanding of poetry and helped preserve and express our culture through the written and spoken word. San Antonio’s Poets Laureate have participated in over 750+ events, programs, projects throughout the city, state, the US and internationally during their terms burnishing our city’s reputation in the fields of arts, culture and education.
The concept of a Poet Laureate originated in England in the 1600s.The title Poet Laureate dates to the ancient Greeks and refers to the tradition of placing a laurel wreath or crown as recognition for significant achievements in literature or the arts. The United States Poet Laureate was established in 1937 and the State of Texas has appointed a Poet Laureate since 1932. In 2012, San Antonio was the first major Texas city to appoint a Poet Laureate. Each municipality establishes guidelines and criteria for the selection of its Poet Laureate and their duties.
About De Leon
Nephtalí De León is a Chicano writer and artist known for his poetry, children’s stories, essays, paintings and sculptures. He was born in Laredo, Texas in 1945 as the son of migrant workers. Although neither of his parents received much formal education, Nephtalí has stated that they were responsible for first exposing him to literature. He published his first book— Chicanos: Our Background and Our Pride —in the early 1960s during his senior year of high school. He then expanded his work to include poetry and plays.
De León is also a visual artist who has worked in painting, sculpture, and mural art. His first children’s book I Will Catch the Sun received great praise. He has been published in Mexico, France, the U.S. and Spain with his stories being translated into several languages. He is also credited with illustrating most of his books. Currently, Nephtalí is a full-time poet, writer and painter who performs lectures and poetry at schools and community events.
MAVP365 and Timothy Lister at The Carver Gallery
San Antonio multidisciplinary artist Maverick Pascal and portrait artist Timothy Lister will have their work on display through Feb. 17 at The Carver Gallery.
Pascal’s exhibit, MAVP365, depicts his self-reflection and mental health journey. Pascal says art is healing.
In 2020, Pascal dedicated himself to creating at least one piece daily for the entire year, hence the name MAVP365. His inspiration comes from different parts of his trauma, lessons from his healing, or learning from others’ journeys. His work’s geometrical fragments and broken pieces draw inspiration from the ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi, where broken objects are mended with gold to become more beautiful.
Music and sounds also influence Pascal’s designs. “Whether or not I know what I want to express, the frequencies from the songs I listen to influence the storytelling of the colors, lines, and shapes.”
To learn more about Pascal or buy his artwork, visit (MavP365.com).
Lister’s work is on display in The Carver’s Side Gallery. His work is realistic in form and media; however, his approach is cross-cultural. Lister’s paintings reflect a deep interest in African American culture and history.
A native of Texas, Lister has been inspired by the works of Jacob Lawrence, Ed Loper, and Henry Tanner over the years of art study. He has also been inspired by contemporary artists John Coleman of San Antonio and Guy Sheppard of Houston.
The Carver Gallery is located in The Jo Long Theatre lobby of the Carver Community Cultural Center at 226 N. Hackberry. The gallery’s hours are Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4:30 pm. There’s no admission fee for the gallery.
Artpace: Curator Talk
Join Artpace Thursday, Dec. 15 at 6 pm for a curator talk with Missla Libsekal, who will share her curatorial practice, followed by a Q&A. Doors open at 5:30 pm, and the free talk will begin at 6 pm.
Libsekal is Artpace’s fall 2023 International Artist in Residency Guest Curator and is based in Vancouver, Canada.
Her practice focuses on interdisciplinary research and artistic practice from a Pan-African perspective. She says on her website that a watershed moment in her journey towards art and practice was a visit to her ancestral home of Asmara, Eritrea (a country in the Horn of Africa), in 2004.
She’s also the founder of Another Africa, a digital platform that operated from 2010 – 2016, and featured writing about African and Afro-Diasporic experiences and imaginaries. Her writings have been published in The Africa Report, The Guardian, Art Africa, SAVVY art journal, and more.
In 2017, Libsekal curated the second edition of the Art x Lagos, Nigeria’s first international art fair. In an interview with Nataal magazine, she described her approach to the curated projects stating, “I was thinking about the rupture of histories within the African context and how we address them—that felt critical to use as a foundation. I also wanted to think about materiality and expand on how contemporary art is understood and defined.”
Artpace San Antonio is a nonprofit residency program that supports Texas, national, and international artists in creating new art. As a catalyst for artistic expression, it engages local communities with global art practices and experiences. To learn more about the event and get tickets, visit (Artpace.org).
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