Black Wall Street: A Case for Reparations
Date: Friday, September 15, 2023
Time: 7:45 pm E.D.T.
Friday, September 15: Opening Reception & Nimbus Arts Center Season Launch Party:
Firmament Gallery at the Nimbus Arts Center, 329 Warren Street, Jersey City
Opening Reception and Nimbus Arts Center Fall Season Launch Party
Join artist Ajamu Kojo, curators Cheryl & Christopher Mack, Nimbus Artistic Director Samuel Pott, and a group of enthusiastic art lovers for the opening of Black Wall Street. The event is open to the public with wine, soft drinks and hors d’oeuvres served. Plus: Special Guest Jason Samuels Smith, virtuoso tap dancer performs an improvisational set. And the Nimbus Arts Center announces Fall Season events and performances! Don’t miss it!
7:45 – 10pm – Public Reception
This exhibition of Ajamu Kojo’s Black Wall Street series is curated by Cheryl and Christopher Mack, founders of the Bridge Art Gallery. Mr. and Mrs. Mack, longtime enthusiasts and advocates for promoting diverse contemporary art, fostering creativity, and connecting artists with audiences, proudly present their fourth exhibition in partnership with The Firmament Gallery at the Nimbus Arts Center.
About the Exhibition
In the depth of Ajamu Kojo’s paintings, we are drawn to contemplate the depth of history. Kojo’s Black Wall Street series depicts Black families, businesspeople, and members of the Greenwood community of Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the time of the 1921 attacks by a racist white mob, one of the worst acts of domestic terrorism in U.S. History. For Mr. Kojo, the paintings serve as a sanctuary – creating space to pay respects and homage to those members of the Greenwood community, who were murdered and whose livelihood was destroyed. These paintings evoke so much: affirmations of family, of rooted stability, of prosperity, not to mention, a large dose of classic style and verve! But other communication is also at play. In this style of portraiture, historically associated with wealthy white families and subjects, Kojo subverts the dominant narrative. We confront the shades of propaganda and embedded prejudice that cloud our view of that most institutionalized of genres, the portrait. So too, in each of the paintings, does Kojo’s use of a foreboding painterly smoke and the menacing drip of black paint appear to shut away these elegant glimpses of the past, as if erased by the pervasive stains of American racism and violence. In what feels like a fleeting glimpse of a history neglected, a space of re-calibration becomes possible, and questions are asked: What if…what if…what if? Here is revealed a new intent in the paintings: a deeply righteous call for equity that is Mr. Kojo’s “Case for Reparations.”
Artist: Ajamu Kojo
Special Guest: Jason Samuels Smith
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