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The Trailblazer

Shircliff Gallery hosting exhibit honoring Black artists

Amber Taylor
Artist William Downs paints the walls of the Shircliff Art Gallery as part of a new exhibit honoring the work of Black artists.
A university faculty member stops to read details of art along the walls of the Shircliff Art Gallery.

The Shircliff Art Gallery is honoring Black History Month with a traveling art exhibit, “In Blackest Shade, In Darkest Light.”

The show is curated by Patrick Earl Hammie, a professor of art at the University of Illinois. It highlights seven Black artists who work in drawing, including Hammie, Stacey A. Robinson, and William Downs.

The exhibition is a celebration of exceptional talent, creative brilliance, and profound narratives of African American artists, organizers say.

Christopher Schneberger, the Shircliff Gallery of Art director, said he is proud the university is playing host to an exhibit that amplifies the rich diversity and cultural depth of African American artists.

“This showcase honors their all-important contributions and serves as a beacon of inspiration and reflection during Black History Month,” he said.

The exhibit centers around drawing as a technology from which artists speculate, recover, and collect communal histories, manifesting stories if desired futures from the margins of imagination into the realities of everyday.

William Downs, a lifetime artist from Atlanta, has on display a piece entitled, ‘And were coming out of dreams. As we’re coming back to dreams. Dreams are thoughts in lotus and chains. Chains are broken by the Sun’s early light.’

He used India ink wash on drywall to capture the essence of his dreams, other people’s dreams, the imagination, and reading.

“Talking about Black History, James Baldwin is my hero. I have every book that he’s ever written. He’s kind of like my anchor whenever putting together a novel,” he said.

“I think of my art as writing a book, so there are characters that keep coming through that are vague enough for people to make their own ideas about the art when seeing it.”

The art exhibit will be on display until March 15 in the Shircliff Art Gallery located in the Shircliff Humanities Center on campus. Admission is free and the gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. To 6 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Interested parties can also schedule viewing appointments by contacting Schneberger at 812-888-4138 or [email protected].



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