Friday, January 11, 2013

The Art of Inspiration

"...of Prosperity," 2011 by Mary Sibande front and back view
To say art is inspiring is an understatement in my opinion. James Craft, an art professor, once told me, “Everything you see not growing was designed by an artist," which I agree with. And, I believe God is the artist of what is growing. So, art is a part of our daily lives.

During the holiday season, I was able to attend the opening reception for "Say it Loud!: Art by African and African-American Artists in the Collection" at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach on Dec. 27. The exhibition was organized by Cheryl Brutvan, director of curatorial affairs and curator of contemporary art at the Norton. It was made possible in part through the support of The Diane Belfer Endowment for Sculpture and the support of the West Palm Beach Chapter of The Links, Inc. Sculptures, paintings, works on paper, textiles and photographs by artists living in Africa or of African descent showcasing art in the Norton Museum's collection as well as new pieces spanning the 20th and 21st century are on display.

As we were guided in a tour led by Glenn Tomlinson, William Randolph Hearst curator of education at the Norton, the first piece of work at the entrance stopped us all in our tracks. It is a work of art by South African artist Mary Sibande made of fiberglass and cotton fabric. Named "...of Prosperity," the sculpture of a woman "Sophie" as well as her garments symbolize South Africa's colonial past and Dutch influence meeting the present democracy. Sophie also represents Sibande's family history as her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother were domestic workers. Sophie does not represent a negative image of workers; rather she is confident and the center of attention with opulent garments.

Some of the artists featured in the exhibition also include Jacob Lawrence, Alison Saar, Faith Ringgold, Radcliffe Bailey and photography by Gordon Parks. I think the exhibition is inspiring, educational and beautiful. Although the Norton does have a permanent collection of African-American art in different locations throughout the museum, it was great to see an actual section dedicated to the artwork.

"Say it Loud!" will be displayed at the Norton through March 3, 2013. I might have to take a trip back before then.

Click here to see WPBT2's video of Glenn Tomlinson explaining the exhibit.

An attendee studies "Rio Dulce," 1993 by Alison Saar.
"Man with Flowers," 1954 by Jacob Lawrence


  1. Great Exhibit!! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. You're welcome! I really enjoyed the exhibit. Thank you for your comment.