Portraits of People We Love was on view at MICA PLACE October 20 - November 18, 2018. Installation images below, for more information on the exhibition and artists click here.

Kamirah Billups

Spring Picture Day

Mixed Media

2017

Not too long ago I was diagnosed with OCD and ADHD. Art was one way to help me cope with this. I’ve been drawing as long as I remember. I did a portrait of myself in the 3rd grade.

Colin Campbell

Jess

Digital

2017

As a representational painter and illustrator, I admit I took I a fairly literal take on “Portraits of People we Love”.

Jess is my wife, and the most important person in my life.

I’ve painted her more than anyone else in my life, as well, so this piece is at once it’s own individual contribution to a group show and also a smaller part of a larger, ongoing story told through paintings and drawings of Jess. Each is from a different point in our lives together. Each from a different location. 

Thinking on the show’s theme, “Portraits of People we Love”, I like to consider how painting a portrait requires dedicated time with a person, and some deep study of subtle parts of what make up their face. There is history in faces. Smile lines, the state of someone’s hair. A portrait painted is often a meditation on a relationship with a person, on the qualities a person carries with them, or on your own shared time with that person.

It takes empathy and consideration to paint someone’s face, and the act of it can help teach us, in small ways, about love.

Schroeder Cherry

Word

Spice Box                                                    

Dream Merchant                                              

No Bullet With My Name on It                            

Song                                                                  

All acrylic and mixed media on wood with objects

2016 - 2017

Agape best describes my portraits.  Agape is universal love, such as the love for strangers, nature, or God. It does not depend on filiation or familiarity. The portraits here are depictions of people I have encountered, but do not know. 

In 2014 a hip injury rendered me unable to walk or do my normal art, which required standing, lifting and moving around.  I could sit and draw, so I began to approach people and ask permission to include their portrait in my sketchbook. Anyone who agreed would get an electronic copy of their portrait from the sketchbook. To date there are five Portrait Sketchbooks.  Some of the portrait images have found their way into my paintings on wood. These works are an evolution of my love of the face, no strings attached.

Nicoletta Daríta de la Brown

Womb

Installation & Sculptural Objects from Rebirth Series, Performance, Duration: 2 hours

2017

A multi-sensory celebration of rebirth activated by cleansing self with healing water and ancient feminine ritualistic practice. The gallery space is transformed into the metaphorical womb. My self-portrait, a video projection created from my x-rays, entitled Womb Cave sets the intention for restorative healing. This work reflects upon when self love was new to me. I have created permanent sacred space, where self care is key. I am proud of: who I am unapologetically, caring for self, loving self unconditionally, living life with passion and purpose, embracing the freedom to be me.

The performance incorporates healing of past injuries, as I let go of visceral memories, while gifting others small tokens and gestures of love to cherish and reflect upon. I’ve fabricated sacred sculptural objects to engage with including: a womb shield encrusted with quartz crystals, and a headdress adorned with delicate paper flowers serving as armor for the mind. 

I was forced to embrace a mode of self-care after recent traumas inflicted through physical and sexual assaults to my body and after being hit by, and bouncing off of the hood of a car. Since then, self love has become my key to liberation. Like so many others, who feel displaced in an uncaring world, I now love myself, and reenter my own womb.

“When a flower doesn’t bloom you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”  - Alexander den Heijer

Oasa DuVerney

The View From Nowhere: Diamond Reynolds and Julian Assange

Graphite and ink on paper

2016

Off Shoring

Graphite and ink on paper

2017

The following artist statement by Ms. DuVerney was recorded during a lecture at Maryland Institute College of Art MFAST program, June 29, 2017

“I don’t know how many people remember Renisha McBride. She was the young woman shot and killed through a screen door. She had gotten into a car accident and had a head injury, had wondered off before the emergency vehicle arrived. Hours later there was a 911 call from a man who said he had shot an intruder through his screen door. Renisha is said to have lived on a corner house, that man’s house was a corner house, so it was suspected that she thought she was knocking on her family’s door and crying for help. He said he was asleep and heard this loud racket and feared for his life so he got his gun and opened his door and shot her through his screen door. If I fear for my life, I usually don’t open my door, but that’s what he did.

And that took me on a few year’s journey of just responding to that story and thinking about that screen. The screen is the space that we have between each other and that we see other people that we may not understand through. How this man saw her [Renisha McBride] as a threat to his life, when she, in fact, was searching for help. So I started this portrait series called The View From Nowhere that depicts people with screens drawn over them. In this pair, to the right is Diamond Reynolds, the woman who live streamed the aftermath of her boyfriend, Philando Castillo, being shot and killed by the police in Minnesota and to the left, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks who had imprisoned himself in the Ecuadorian embassy in England. I thought that they were a good match, they were both people who used technology and social media to share an already known truth, to present facts about things that we already know within ourselves or we suspect to be the truth. They are both heroic in that way, but also they’re misunderstood. The View From Nowhere represents this idea of both the marginalized and the privileged. When you are nowhere, nowhere meaning on the margins or excluded from what is acceptable in society, then your view is from nowhere.

Also, The View From Nowhere being that white men don’t have the problem of race and gender to tarnish their thoughts, so what they see is the ultimate truth. Obviously, I don’t agree with that, that is why I made these drawings. After these, I started drawing thoughtful white men that I would see in the media, drawing their portraits, thinking that, as a black artist, as a woman I am constantly being asked or expected to make work about my identity. And that making work about my identity means making work about my personal body or bodies that resemble mine. I think that type of expectation is f***ed up and so I started to change that. I meditated on this James Baldwin quote, “I have been described by you for hundreds of years. And now, I can describe you.” So I wanted to see what it was like to describe the other and I got sick of it. So I decided I wanted to describe black power and what it would look like, but I also did not want to go back to using my body so I started drawing elements from nature. 

Tanaira Harris

Heart and Wound

Mixed Media

2017

Tiffany Jones

With These Hands

Mixed Media

2017

Symbolically the hand is a representation of protection and connectedness. From the moment we enter this world, our hands begin to guide us on a journey, experiencing life through the power of touch, we embrace love and loved ones. In the series, With These Hands, this love is celebrated with a collection of family photos that create a visual journey embracing the lessons learned through love.

With these hands I will guide you

I will show you joy

I will provide you comfort

I will give you strength

I will teach you forgiveness

You will embrace love with these hands

Ken Krafchek

Between the Shadows is the Light

Digital photography

2014

These photos depict my trip to Jakmel, Haiti in 2014.  Over a two-week span, I shared monoprint techniques with 20 local high school-aged students and adults who are artist-members of the Jakmel Ekspresyon Community Arts Center. 

These young people and I met through art — an act of love transcending difference (race, culture, class, age, language).  This place of intimate engagement is as brief as a moment, yet as expansive as the universe.  

My photography represents a process by which I both engage and form relationships with various individuals and communities.  Although these photos have a look of photojournalism, they are nonetheless predicated on relationships — “sharing before taking.”  By this, I mean that I offer workshops related to artmaking (monoprints, storytelling, critical thinking) while pursuing a strategy that supports the lifting up of personal and collective voice, histories and hoped-for futures.  I take care to invite the persons I portray into an unforced relationship, giving first (artmaking workshops) and asking later (with permission) before taking photographs.  I abide by the social justice-based, liberatory values of the community arts field.  In this case, photography serves as a non-hierarchical relationship, a partnership based on mutual respect.

During my time in Haiti, we made art in both the light of day and darkness of intermittent power outages — our efforts illuminated by candles, cell phones, flashlights and the undeniable desire of the creative spirit.

Sarah McCann

Love

Mosaic

2017

As an artist and a curator, I find that during the planning of an exhibition, I often have a piece of my own artwork that is created simultaneously. This piece often finds space in the gallery. Love is the piece that came out of “Portraits of People We Love.” It is the jumping off point of a series I am beginning of people I love that will combine portraits with quotes of things they have said to me. The first will be a portrait of my grandfather, whose words of wisdom were, “You are love” written in a letter that he left for me after he passed away.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work with the artists in this exhibition. As a curator, I find the roots of the word curate meaningful.

Word Origin and History for curate n.

late 14c., “spiritual guide,” from Medieval Latin curatus “one responsible for the care (of souls),” from Latin curatus, past participle of curare “to take care of”

It is an honor to have worked with the artists in this exhibition and I appreciate their allowing me the responsibility of caring for their work. In a time when we face challenges that are overwhelming, it is only love that can give us the hope that we will find a way to move through the flames, find understanding, and create a more equitable and just world. 

“Happiness is only possible with true love. True love has the power to heal and transform the situation around us and bring deep meaning to our lives.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh, “Teachings on Love”

Ahchaad McNeill

Portrait as The FLASH

Mixed Media

2017

Ahchaad is drawn to the natural ways of art and it’s features. Art is an awesome thing to do and it helps me to relieve my anger.

Shalash McNeill

Power of Robots

Mixed Media

2017

dominic t. moulden

Black Love is My Religion

Installation, photography

2017

BLACK LOVE is My Religion 

To Ramadan: BLACK LOVE is your king of the hill squatting position in Sodere Park.

To Edo: BLACK LOVE is the beauty of the home that you created with those proud hands. The hands that powerfully rest on your hip and entrance.

To Sisters: BLACK LOVE is your beautiful attitude and posture as Black Women.

To Black Beauty: YOU ARE “BLACK IS LOVE!”

To Nicaragua’s Children: Let’s BLACK LOVE each other more like you.

To Delte’s Doorway: Your BLACK LOVE is simply adorable and lovely. 

To Aunty Annie: Black resistance is BLACK LOVE.

To One Love: Street Love is real BLACK LOVE too! 

To White Privilege:  BLACK LOVE eliminates your white supremacy.

To Love is My Religion: Nonye, you taught me that BLACK LOVE IS A RELIGION.

My portraits for this exhibit – Portraits of People We LOVE – is an intentional tribute to BLACKNESS IS LOVE, loveable, and loving. In the spirit of these times I celebrate the Movement for Black Lives. One very important and significant friendship and love story propelled me into believing and unveiling a silent NOW public drive to LOVE BLACK PEOPLE! 

It all started with a tee-shirt that read LOVE IS MY RELIGION. My collection of portraits weaves into this exhibit that LOVE is not always about knowing a person, a place, or a space. LOVE is about not knowing but being sincerely moved by a strange face, a new face, and an unknown space.  I am encouraged to capture BLACK portraits that we can simply adore and love because of knowing one person believes what I believe about the potential to LOVE BLACK PEOPLE!                                                                                                        

Special recognition to Allison Duggan and Gerad Forte who supported and assisted me in the creation of this exhibit.

Paula Phillips 

FIRE: Truck 12

Hand-sewn Fibers & Mixed Media on Faux Fur

2017

I am a mixed media visual artist whose works intentionally intersect with the human experience by embracing my personal interactions and perceptions while working with people.  Some of my works begin as portraits of ‘states of being’ that present actual scenarios and the need to change existing dynamics.  Some are visual renditions of abstract thoughts that represent form, color and movement.  Others are visual and spiritual offerings from chance meetings or deliberate encounters and observations of and within distinct or obtuse environments.  Perhaps just as many are the haunting products of brief, yet profound experiences that have become life-changing events. Some works portray evolutionary and revolutionary concepts that remain in that peculiar state of flux that is necessary to achieve personal gro   wth- personifications of the “human experiences” in spiritual form.  

FIRE: Truck 12 encompasses all of the above as experienced by a 10-plus year relationship with EVD Nelson, a 25-year veteran Baltimore City Firefighter and Emergency Vehicle Driver of the Fifth Battalion, Squad 40, Truck Company 12, located at 3906 Liberty Heights Avenue.  

EVD Nelson, you are filled with the blue-white hot flames of LIFE lived passionately and with the genuine deep concern for the health and safety all of humanity.  If others could only know you as I do, they would understand how important you and other Firefighters like you are to our City, to the people of our communities and to our planet.  

Thank you for your Care and Love of human kind.  

Thank you for your expertise and for all the risks you have and will continue to take to preserve life and property within some of the most dire and dangerous circumstances imaginable.  

Thank you for continuing to believe in Peace and the very real possibility of a world no longer plagued by violence, hatred, hunger or homelessness.

May the Universe continue to provide its veil of protection over you as you do your work.


In Praise of...

Hand-sewn mixed media on faux fur

2013

“In Praise of…” Baltimore has been my home since 1994.  I arrived as and remain a studio and community artist who is passionate about working with people and their communities, utilizing the arts as a vehicle to better identify and work through issues of “difference, privilege and power.”  Relationships made over these years have helped me better understand the roots of some frustrations, concerns and real issues of many of our City’s citizens, more so those who live in some of our suppressed and struggling neighborhoods.    I have also begun to understand that many people of Baltimore embody beauty, love and a commitment to doing good deeds for themselves as well as for a greater good.  

“In Praise of…” is a community arts collaborative “call and response” work intended to illustrate a raising up and honoring of those people, places or things we appreciate; those we honor and respect, those who contribute to our quality of life, bringing us joy and sense of well-being.  The educators and students of The ConneXions Academy of West Baltimore engaged the call and responded to my art with their own creative works by exemplifying “praise” according to their personal experiences and their own voices and mediums of choice including sculpture, painting, drawing, mosaics, mixed media, performance and dance.  Each artwork is original and varied in content, vibrant with meaning. 

“In Praise of…” is about you, and I thank you artists of ConneXions. Each of you holds a very important and special place in my heart.  

Deja A. Riddick

The Peace Maker?

Mixed Media

2017

Deja is drawn to the new and old and mysteries of the world and space.

Khalil Taylor

Deadly Scorpion of the Desert

Mixed Media

2017

I created my artwork because I was inspired by my favorite video game. My artwork is a piece that shows a content of my character. I used a cereal box and cut a door into it. I then took items that represented my character and glued them inside the box.

Community Installation

Portraits of Enoch Pratt Free Library Branch Managers photographed by Wide Angle Youth Media

Portraits of People we Love invited artists to create and submit work that depicts a person or persons each artist loves. This love may be platonic, familial, romantic; someone they only know in passing, but are overjoyed exist in the world; someone they have never met, but appreciate in the deepest, most meaningful way or any and all other forms of love.

As human beings we struggle to find love - we enter into and attempt to maintain relationships, find romantic love, give love and love ourselves. This exhibition explores our continual pursuit for love, even when that love causes us pain.

The work included in this exhibition embraces portraiture in many forms: each artist has interpreted and embraced what a portrait means to them.

The exhibition also showcases additional portraits of people we love that was open to anyone in Baltimore and the surrounding region. This community installation highlights the beautiful way that love connects us all.

Special thanks to all who helped make this exhibition a reality: Eunice Anderson, Zlata Baum, Bowerbox Press, Colin Campbell, Schroeder Cherry, Laura Cohen, Nicoletta Daríta de la Brown, Heidi Daniel, Rufus Davis, Erika DesRavines, Emily Sollenberger Dobbins, Heather Douglas, Allison Duggan, Oasa DuVerney, Enoch Pratt Free Library (EPFL), EPFL Neighborhood Library Services and Branch Managers, Gerad Forte, Matt Freire, Marisela Gomez, Fusion Partnerships, Sammy Hoi, Cinder Hypki, Invisible Majority, Chris Jackson, Tahir Jaba, Mia Jones, Tiffany Jones, Ken Krafchek, Val Lucas, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), MICA’s MFA in Community Arts, Herb Malveaux, Meghan McCorkell, Cindi Monahan, dominic t. moulden, Ms. Lily - Puppet Docent, Alanah Nichole, Paula Phillips, Kursten Pickup, Christine Qabar, Christina Ralls, Shondalette Randolph-Williams, Rosemary Riel, The Rising Mama, Jassie Rios, Ana Temple Rodney, Gerald Ross and the MICA Exhibitions Team, Bryan Sinagra, David Sloan, Jeremy Stern, Christine Stiver, Cynthia M. Stokes, Jeff Vanlandingham, Mike Walley-Rund, Wide Angle Youth Media, Cynthia Wilson, Jannette Witmyer, and all who contributed to the community installation.


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