a photographic exhibition in conjunction with the publication of…
Images of the African Diaspora
in New York CITY Community Murals
…On the Wall: Four Decades of Community Murals in NYC
presented by ARTMAKERS INC.
DATES: May 5 – 28
PLACE: African American Heritage Center
361 Lewis Avenue (at Macon Street)
HOURS: 9-6, Mon, Wed, Fri
SUBWAYS: A, C to Utica Avenue
INFO: ArtmakersNYC@aol.com, 212.989.3006
Macon Library, 718.573.5606
FREE PUBLIC PROGRAMS
Opening reception: May 5, 6:30-8:30
Artmakers Inc. presents Images of the African Diaspora in New York City Community Murals, a traveling exhibition curated by Jane Weissman that explores how African and Caribbean art, history, religion and myth have influenced mural themes and content. The exhibition will be on view at the African American Heritage Center, Macon Library from May 5 -28.
The exhibition coincides with the publication of On the Wall: Four Decades of Community Murals in New York City by Janet Braun-Reinitz and Jane Weissman (University Press of Mississippi, 2/2009).
In the six years the authors researched On the Wall, Braun-Reinitz and Weissman discovered murals in Harlem from the early 1970s that were hitherto lost to history as well as murals painted since the late 1970s in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, that were unknown outside their immediate neighborhood.
Despite the disparity of time and geography, these murals are related in both theme and content, filled with images of the African Diaspora. The exhibition also looks at diasporan imagery – Caribbean as well as African – found in murals in other Manhattan and Brooklyn neighborhoods, Queens, and the Bronx.
The exhibition examines the traditional meaning of diasporan images and symbols and discusses them in terms of philosophy (i.e., the Black Arts Movement, Ghanaian artist Kofi Antubam) and their visual representations (e.g., Black Madonnas, Ethiopian illuminated manuscripts, Bògòlanfini and Adinkra fabrics, and Ndebele house painting).
Over the past 40 years, artists and arts organizations found contemporary meaning in these images and, through new research and interviews, the exhibition describes the relevance they have today. Decoded, the murals become more than striking images; they stand as visual representations of the cultural, social and political currents of the periods in which they were painted.
Weissman (who lives in Greenwich Village) and Braun-Reinitz (who lives in Clinton Hill) are longtime members of the Brooklyn-based Artmakers, an artist-run, politically oriented community mural organization that creates high quality public art relevant to the lives, work and concerns of people in their neighborhoods.