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Between Yesterday and Tomorrow – Perspectives from Local Black Artists

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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.

Art

MAVP365 and Timothy Lister at The Carver Gallery

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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.

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Artpace: Curator Talk

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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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Quilts Tell a Story of Black Heritage

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Quilts are not just for decoration or warmth. They can tell a story. The Tex-Mex Underground Railroad quilt, created by Dr. Lillian Jones, is an example of history one must never forget. 

Her quilt depicts the trail many slaves took on their path to freedom from Texas to Mexico. More than 2,500 documented slaves escaped in Texas, most headed to Mexico. Slaves were helped by free Blacks, Mexican laborers and some German settlers who risked mobs, lynching, and brutal punishment. 

San Antonio residents can learn about the slaves’ heroic journey, including crossing the Nueces Strip, where temperatures soared over 100 degrees with little to no water, at the Carver Cultural Community Center. The Tex-Mex Underground Railroad Quilt is part of a public exhibit, “These Ain’t Yo Big Mama’s Quilt!” open through Dec. 6 in the center’s lobby.

Jones is a part of the African American Quilt Circle of San Antonio, a nonprofit quilting community sharing the heritage of quilting and promoting the culture and traditions of African American quilting.

The group has produced and contributed to over 25 exhibits throughout San Antonio, Texan Institute of Cultures, and across the country and has a published book. This year the Quilt Circle was also featured in the national Quilt Folk Magazine. Jones is also excited that her Underground Railroad Quilt may be on display in January at the Museum of South Texas History in Edinburg. The museum’s mission is to preserve and present the borderland heritage of South Texas and Northeastern Mexico.  

In celebration of five years as an organization and its commitment to storytelling through fiber arts, the Quilt Circle had a reception on Oct. 27 to kick off its gallery showcase. The community can view several quilts on display from 8 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday at the Carver. 

The Quilt Circle is also sponsoring a raffle for their colorful “Black Angel” quilt using cotton, African fabric, and embellishments. The quilt took over three months to make, stitch, bind, quilt, and sew. Donations from the raffle will go towards its many philanthropic activities throughout the city and future exhibits.

The quilt’s retail value is estimated at $1,000. Tickets can be purchased online (bit.ly/AAQCSATX5yrs) for $20 for each entry or six tickets for $100.

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