By Johania Charles -- Miami Times
The Magic City returns to the global spotlight next week with the much-anticipated Miami Art Week, running from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4, and this year’s event marks the 20th-anniversary celebration of Art Basel Miami. And while hundreds of artists will converge in South Florida, more Black creators are taking center stage in an ongoing effort by local organizations, galleries and curators to bring Black art greater exposure.
“We’ve been skipped over far too long and the times we were considered, we were marginalized,” said curator and AfriKin founder Alfonso D’Niscio Brooks about the involvement of Black artists in large-scale events in Miami’s art scene. “I think it’s important that there are fairs representing us at the highest level. Some artists are world-recognized artists and for them to not have a space in Miami that presents them in that equal light is a misrepresentation of Black culture. This is something that has been happening in art fairs and Art Basel in general.”
Alfonso D’Niscio Brooks, Curator & Founder of AfriKin
Black-owned galleries such as Macaya Gallery, N’Namdi Contemporary Miami, Art Africa Miami Arts Fair and Amadlozi Gallery have for years given Black artists – emerging and master – the platform and space to exhibit their work, and continue to do so through Miami Art Week.
“It’s good that a lot of artists from the African diaspora are now being seen and represented,” said Jumaane N’Namdi, director of his namesake gallery. “They are documenting, archiving and preserving our culture, and not just making stuff to go over your couch. I mean, it can go over your couch but there is a higher purpose than just selling art.”
Overtown’s Soul Basel and the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau’s (GMCVB) Art of Black Miami programming – both intended to generate more foot traffic and economic investments within communities where Black art is showcased – have also placed a spotlight on the Black artistic community during Miami Art Week in recent years.
Maxwell “Hops” Pearce is a Harlem Globetrotter and an artist.
“This is my first art show and I’m excited,” said Maxwell “Hops” Pearce, the artist and athlete behind “The Art of an Athlete” exhibition at N’Namdi. “I have a few things that I’m trying to really convey with this exhibit. One is that I don’t think people are aware of the contributions athletes have made beyond their sport. A lot of times, we get caught up in how great they are on the court or on the field and don’t look at what they’ve done beyond that.”
Data released by Zippia, a career research company, shows that only 3.9% of U.S. artists identified as Black in 2019 compared to 73% of white artists. Though relatively low, the percentage of Black artists in the industry in 2019 was at the highest it had ever been in the last decade.
“It’s important to show South Floridians that they can become the next Viyé Diba, Abdoulaye Konaté or Barthélémy Toguo,” said Brooks, referencing popular global artists. “What type of hope are we giving young Black artists if exhibits like this don’t exist?” Maxwell Pearce’s “42” is a sculpture of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in Major League Baseball, made of baseballs and sliding mitts.
Events & exhibitions
Art lovers looking to feast their eyes on culturally significant and thought-provoking pieces or join lively conversations around Black artists’ contribution to the art world should look no further than these events:
Point Comfort Art Fair + Show 2022 Phil Shing’s work – shown here is a piece depicting a decorative taxi popular in Haiti – will be displayed at the Point Comfort Art Fair + Show.
Historic Ward Rooming House
249 NW Ninth St., Miami
Nov. 27, 4-6 p.m.; Dec. 1, 6-8 p.m.; Dec. 2-4, 12-8 p.m.
Presented by Hampton Art Lovers, Point Comfort will take place indoors and outdoors. It includes an exhibition featuring artwork by eight artists inside a large tent in the garden, 10 artworks from a Florida Memorial University collection and an Indaba Lounge Series program of art talks. Featured artists include Basil Watson, Brandon Clark, Tiffani Glenn, Phil Shing, Musa Hixon, Chris Clark, Judy Bowman and Tommy the Animator.
Soul Basel, hosted in partnership with the Miami Museum of Contemporary Art of the African Diaspora (MoCADD), will precede Point Comfort on Nov. 27.
Kimpton Angler Hotel
660 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
Nov. 30, 4-8 p.m.; Dec 1-3, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Dec. 4, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Art UnRestricted is the fourth installment of the MUSE Modern & Contemporary Art Fair. It will include paintings, photographs and sculptures by Caribbean, women, African and Hispanic artists.
Art Beat Miami
Nov. 30 to Dec. 4
Art Beat Miami’s five-day fair consists of an exhibition with more than 30 artists, conversations with artists, arts and crafts activities, and a ticketed Caribbean brunch and parties at the Joseph Caleb Center and Brightline Miami Central Station. Its gallery will be accessible in person and online. Locations and times vary by event.
Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami
“Gran Manje” by Leah Gordon is a part of the “Kanaval” exhibition at North Miami’s Museum of Contemporary Art
770 NE 125th St., North Miami
Dec. 1-4, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
$10 Adults; $5 Seniors
MOCA’s Art Week programming includes three separate exhibitions: Didier William’s “Nou Kite Tout Sa Deye,” a look into the North Miami-raised artist’s career through biographical anecdotes captured in his more than 40 artworks; Leah Gordon’s “Kanaval,” which documents the celebration of Carnival in Haiti over 20 years; and Chire “VantaBlack” Regans’ “To What Lengths,” an artistic reflection on the importance of legacy building and the preservation of Black culture.
“The Art of An Athlete”
“Still Standing” is one of the various works by Maxwell Pearce that highlights recent activism in the sports world as part of the artist’s “The Art of an Athlete” exhibition.(Jorden Lewis)
N’Namdi Contemporary Miami
6505 NE Second Ave., Miami
Dec. 2, 6-10 p.m.; Dec. 3, 12-4 p.m., Dec. 4, 12 p.m.
Troubled by a 2020 interview that ended with a thrown banana, Harlem Globetrotter Maxwell Pearce channeled inner frustrations from the racially charged attack against him into an opportunity to uplift Black athletes who leveraged their platforms to protest against racial injustice. The solo exhibition pays homage to Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, Colin Kaepernick, Wilma Rudolph, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali and others in the sports industry who pushed past comments similar to Laura Ingraham’s “Shut up and dribble.”
The collection features artworks are created almost entirely out of sports
equipment, some of which are multidimensional. A panel discussion featuring Washington Mystics Natasha Cloud, Los Angeles Lakers former director of racial equity and action Karida Brown, and two-time track and field Olympian Gwen Berry will take place a day after the exhibition’s opening reception.
Art of Transformation
Philippe Attie’s “Imprints” will be displayed at the Art of Transformation show.(Courtesy of Opa-locka Community Development Corporation)
The Arc – 675 Ali Baba Ave., Opa-locka
Hurt Building/Logan Center – 490 Opa-locka Blvd., Opa-locka
Historic Opa-locka Railroad Station – 650 Ali Baba Ave., Opa-locka
Dec. 1-4, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
The Opa-locka Community Development Corporation’s Art of Transformation series returns Dec. 1 with three exhibitions: “This Here Place: Africa and the Global Diaspora” and “A Beautiful Human Love,” curated by Tumelo Mosaka and Jean-Jacques Stephen Alexis, and “The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born,” created by Brooks and featuring 40 artists from Jamaica, Senegal, Nigeria, Dominican Republic, the U.S. and St. Martin.
Art of Transformation 2022 will be a four-day, three-block event, which includes the “Miami Art Week Exodus to Opa-locka Festival” with live music and performances, the “Africa Becoming” panel discussion with African artists, a culinary experience and other pop-ups.
Philip Thomas’ “High-Sis in the Garden of Heathen” is among the works to be displayed at the Art of Transformation show.(Courtesy of Art)
"Black Women in Art Part Deux: The Noire Perspective"
Haitian Heritage Museum
4141 NE Second Ave., #105C
Dec. 2, 10-11 a.m.
Free; RSVP Required
Powered by GMCVB’s Art of Black Miami programming, the Haitian Heritage Museum presents the second installment of its “Black Women in Art: The Noire Perspective.” Stichiz, 103.5 The Beat radio personality, will moderate the conversation on how Black women in the arts can create lasting legacies. Panelists include Myrtis Bedolla, Mya Carr, Adrienne Chadwick, Karine Melissa and Anjeni Ramtahal.
One Ralph Sanchez Speedway Blvd., Homestead
Dec. 2, 6-10 p.m.; Dec. 3, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Dec. 4, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
District 9 County Commissioner Kionne McGhee brings South Dade its own Basel experience, filled with family-friendly activations, music, food trucks, spoken-word performances, sculptures, paintings and photography.
"Art As a Social Experiment"
The Gabriel South Beach
640 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach
Dec. 3, 4-7 p.m.
Artists Kelsey Marie and Shauna Harley will team up for a live painting and interactive exhibition, which will also include augmented-reality filters, by the Gabriel hotel’s pool and courtyard.
13th Annual CADA Panel Discussion
Art Deco Museum
1001 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach
Dec. 4, 12-3 p.m.
Contemporary African Diaspora Art (CADA) will host its annual Basel panel discussion on visual arts achievements within the African diaspora, as well as the state of the art market. Panelists include Basil Watson, Jamaican sculptor; Myron Jackson USVI cultural ambassador; Marie Vickles, Pérez Art Museum Miami director of education; Kandy Lopez, Nova Southeastern professor; Darwin Guard; and Jarvis Dubois.
Boca Raton Museum of Art
501 Plaza Real, Boca Raton
Now through Jan. 29, 2023, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
$16; Free for Members & Children Under 15
Reginald Cunningham, a Washington, D.C.-based photographer and activist, captures Boca Raton’s historic Pearl City neighborhood in “Black Pearls.” Established in 1915 for Black Americans, Pearl City is the oldest existing neighborhood in Boca Raton. Through 24 photographs and audio and video interviews, Cunningham documents the lives of present-day residents and descendants of the original settlers.
For more events, visit ArtofBlackMiami.com.