The Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education is delighted to announce the opening of “RESPECT,” an exhibition celebrating Black and Afro-Latinx womanhood. The art gallery exhibition and related public programs comprise the Fall season of “CelebrARTE,” Casita Maria’s arts and culture event series celebrating the South Bronx community and the art it has inspired.
“RESPECT” is a multimedia exhibition that features New York-based artists Timothy Okamura, Jessica Spence, and Nichole Washington. Like much of the art displayed at Casita Maria, the exhibition examines a belief about or within the community — here, that beauty diminishes as skin tones become darker or hair becomes kinkier — and turns it on its head, with powerful depictions of Black women respecting themselves and loving each other.
Each artist celebrates Black womanhood in their signature style. Okamura combines his ‘realist’ paintings of figures with details rendered in collage, spray paint and mixed media. The exhibition will include work he created from photographs of four Casita Maria after-school program participants as well as giclee prints from his Begin Transmission and Urban Portraits series.
Jessica Spence’s acrylic paintings examine Black womanhood and societal beauty ideals, focusing on the beauty and versatility of Black hair. She will also participate in a panel discussion on the politics of hair and teach a workshop on her collage methods on Saturday, September 21.
Nichole Washington’s bold and imaginative works explore feminine strength, identity, and spirituality through both photography and paint. Her strong use of design, layered with symbols and expressive brush strokes, creates a multidimensional space that allows room for nuance. For anyone interested in how she creates her engaging visuals, Ms. Washington will teach a workshop on symbol-making on Saturday, October 5.
Through CelebrARTE and other public programs, Casita Maria has become a premier location for the arts and culture of the South Bronx. Creative Arts Director Gail Heidel says, “Casita Maria is a safe, welcoming space that celebrates cultural pride and honors the communities we serve by creating a resilient ecosystem of self-expression, creativity and education. Seeing themselves and their families reflected in the art we present, neighborhood youth build self-esteem and pride in themselves and their communities. Our programming and the artists we showcase are a testament to the transformative power of the arts.”
Fall 2019 season of the CelebrARTE (Celebrate Yourself) series On view at the Casita Maria Gallery September 3 – November 15, 2019
Free and open to the public, Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Exhibition Opening and Artist Talk: Thursday, September 19, 5:30 – 8 PM
- Panel Discussion: The Politics of Hair: Self-Love, Self-Care
Understanding, Saturday, September 21, 1-3 p.m., Moderator: Lori Tharps,
- Panelists Sulma Arzu-Brown, Isidra Sabio Jessica Spence, Natasha Tarpley
Workshop: ExpresARTE/Express Yourself Through Collage, September 21,
- 3:30-5 PM, Artist: Jessica Spence, Workshop: ExpresARTE/Express Yourself
Through Symbol Making, Saturday, October 5, 10-11:30 a.m., Artist: Nichole Washington
Book Club: One Book One Bronx. Wednesday evenings 6:30-8 PM, beginning September 11. Featured books will include: “Girl in the Mirror: Three Generations of Black Women in Motion,” by Natasha Tarpley, and “Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America” by Ayana Byrd and Lori Tharps.
Learn More: https://www.casitamaria.org/gallery
The exhibition and public programs are made possible by support from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the Lily Auchincloss Foundation.
Casita Maria Center For Arts & Education is the first and oldest Latino 501(c)(3) charity in NYC, founded in 1934. The South Bronx-based community arts and educational organization presents diverse, contemporary visual and performing arts and education programming for all ages.