Artists in 'Black Joy' Art Exhibition Inspire Students to Find Their Own Meaning of Joy in Black Culture


Housed in the Hale Hall and Special Collections Galleries at the Thompson Library, the ‘Black Joy’ Art Exhibition showcases art selected from 12 local artists who promote black culture and celebrate black joy.Credits: Zachary Riley | Photo Editor

Discover the many common aspects of black culture through the lens of three local artists.

The Black Joy art exhibition, on display at the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center and Special Collections Gallery at the Thompson Library, features work from 12 local artists who promote black culture and celebrate the joy of being black. I chose. According to his website for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the exhibit follows the Black Joy: Expansive, Unfiltered, Unapologetic exhibit created in August that highlights the peak of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Nzuri McCree, a third-year landscape architecture student and featured artist, told her she finds joy in the cultural practices of black family ties and childhood upbringing.

McCrea’s acrylic painting on display at the Hale Center depicts her baby cousin Ava L. Garner, one of the first grandchildren in her family. McCrea said building her family is a core value of black culture, and seeing the new generation grow up is paramount for older families.

“Personally, a lot of my family didn’t get to see their children grow up,” McCrea said. I could see you take the first step.”

McCree said she finds joy in seeing traditional black people like her grandfather leave with their families and the community working together to care for their children. He said he wanted to express himself.

“People always say it takes a village to raise a child,” McCrea said. “I feel like the whole black community. You’re coming together to raise our children. There’s something so beautiful about that.”

McCrea said that the joy in life comes from the small moments in the midst of daily struggles. She encourages her students to look for the moment even when it’s hard, she said.

“Life can be very black and white at times, but there are things that make it worthwhile,” McCrea said.

For McCree, happiness means staying true to the inner child, but artist Ahua Dankwa Bokey said she defines joy in beauty.

Boakye, a fourth-year health science student, has two pieces on display. Thompson’s ceramic work and Hale Center’s acrylic painting. Both of her works showcase gold-encrusted black women to connect her beauty ideals with her Ghanaian roots, she said.

“The history behind Ghana is one of the countries where our main resource is gold,” Mr Boakye said. “It also has to do with black beauty being precious.”

Boakye said it was important for girls to embody the joy of black female beauty because the beauty of black women is often sexualized in the media. I encourage you to see the beauty within yourself and the joy that comes from it.

“I feel like a lot of black girls struggle to find their beauty,” Boakye said.

Local visual artist and Culture Arts Center resident Annie Chrissy Burley said joy often comes from struggle. This, she said, is something the black community knows well in relation to the constant struggle for racial equity.

Burley said that her exhibited work, an animation based on the famous Michelangelo painting The Creation of Adam, is a reflection of her faith, that it created her and that struggle is often necessary for pleasure. lead to an understanding of

“Ironically, in our world, happiness and joy are mixed up,” Burley said. “In the Bible, joy is always correlated with suffering.”

Like Boakye, McCree said she hopes through her art, students will see the child in them and think about what joy means to them. rice field.

“I want my art to remind you that you are a child,” McCrea said. “You are always learning something new. Listen to your inner child and take care of yourself.”