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I am a fan of art.
One of the perks of being in and from St. Louis is the Saint Louis Art Museum. There are always exhibits from around the world and back again. This exhibit came across my radar by way of my husband’s theology class.
Make no mistake, we took our daughters to this exhibit as well! The reason was two-fold:
1.) The Art Museum doesn’t feature Black artists like that.
2.) We didn’t know when they would desire this exhibit (or any other like it) again.
Through his technique of street casting, this exhibit is exquisite to behold. From the size of the paintings, the colors and their melaninated subjects, this exhibit is exactly what Black History Month in St. Louis needed.
I was in awe.
I was so proud.
It was so good to see us looking back at us.
Not a parody. No stereotypes. No minstrelsy. Just us.
I loved the colors he chose, the people he chose and even how he showed acrylic nails, tattoos and the painted toenails. The exhibit is itself a wonder.
All this Blackness in one spot, in a place of distinction, among all these other painted (white) faces? I was overjoyed.
Kehinde Wiley took us and made us regal. From the homies that were protesting the death of #MikeBrown, to the girls at beauty supply shops or waiting for the bus. Kehinde saw all the power that is Black and people, making it visible to the naked eye.
This exhibit isn’t a fluke. Black art isn’t reserved for flea markets and tattoos. This exhibit shows everyone that melanin indeed sparkles in the sun. Black is indeed beautiful.
The Kehinde Wiley exhibit was on display at the Saint Louis Art Museum from October 19, 2018-February 10, 2019. Click here for more information about the artist.
[images from authors personal album]