Collection: Artist of the Month Series: We Are Creating Our History, Curated By Deatra Colbert, Felicia Griffin, and Dorrie Reid (online exhibition)

About the exhibition

"Black History Month is a time when I like to think about how we talk about our history together at NIAD. We learn about reading and cooking and printmaking and sewing. I've been thinking about how I've been coming here making art for a long time, and so I know I'm going down in history with NIAD."

- Deatra Colbert

Over the past few years, NIAD artists have been delving deeper into the curatorial aspects of their practices by participating in our Artist of the Month program, which converts a portion of the communal studio into an installation and exhibition space. Working individually or in teams, artists elect to display completed work, experiment with wall murals and site-specific installations, or perform art, poetry, and music.

We are thrilled to present the following collection based on an AOM installation directed by Deatra Colbert, Felicia Griffin, and Dorrie Reid. Together, the artists selected NIAD art objects that honor Black History and cultural heritage. The exhibition culminated with an artist talk led by the curators, who each shared how their personal history influences the formal, symbolic, and narrative elements in their art practices.

this is a photograph taken early on in the set up of an exhibition, and features a wall mural, some paintings and sculptures that have not yet been installed. There is a white wall with the words "WE ARE CREATING OUR HISTORY" painted in black and red capital letters. There is a small blue and yellow and red square painting hanging in the center of the wall. A large painting of a red and purple circle sits on the floor and leans against the wall at the center of this photo. To the left of this painting there is a tan and purple chair; to the right and in front of the painting there is a brown chair with a stuffed pillow sculpture sitting on it. There is a white pedestal to the far right of this image that has paint tubs and brushes on it. The floor in front of the wall is dark mottled grey.

This image documents the completion of the text-based wall mural "We Are Creating Our History," and includes several mixed-media chair sculptures lined up as potential additions to the installation. 

This image shows a group of people seated in front of an art installation, facing each other as they listen to one of the people talk. The  wall they are looking at has a mural painted on it that reads, "we are creating our history" in large red and black letters. There are Lino-cut prints of figures, abstract paintings, photographs, and text-drawings related to black history month covering the wall. There is a person wearing glasses, a red shirt and blue pants standing toward the right side of the photo. They are holding a black ceramic sculpture of a cat with a top hat who represents Abraham Lincoln as a cat. They are talking about the sculpture and what inspired them to make it.

This image was taken during the curator-led artist talk. Members of NIAD's studio sit in the foreground ready to participate in conversation about the show. Artist Dorrie Reid stands holding her sculpture "Abraham Lincoln Cat" and speaks about her process. 

A detail image of a portion of the gallery wall. There is a painting of a figure colored brown and purple, with the words "Rosa Parks Black History Month" written in purple around them. Above this wall painting, there is a ceramic plate with a cut out in the shape of the African continent installed on the wall. To the right of this plate there is a small square blue painting of a flower. Along the bottom of this image, there is a green and blue quilted textile with hearts and other shapes appliquéd on it. To the right of this textile piece there is a small maroon and pink abstract marker drawing. The edges of the photo show corners of additional drawings that are installed on the wall, beyond the scope of this photograph.

A detail of the wall installation, featuring a wall painting by Christian Vassell and work by Shana Harper, Shawna Kinard, and Evelyn Davis. [Full image descriptions in alt-text.]

Enjoy more of the available work listed below!

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