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Truth & Healing Visual Art Exhibition - Featuring Works by Five Local Artists

Presented by ArtsWave and National Underground Railroad Freedom Center at National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati OH

Jul 14 2023
Sep 10 2023
Truth & Healing Visual Art Exhibition - Featuring Works by Five Local Artists

ArtsWave is pleased to present the third annual showcase of new works by 18 of the region’s leading Black and Brown artists.

Running through September 10, the Truth & Healing Visual Art Exhibition – held at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s Skirball Gallery – features impactful visual art by recipients of ArtsWave’s Black and Brown Artist Program.

This year’s Showcase is focused on the themes of healing, rebirth and reconnecting. Projects will explore and build upon the current artistic commentary of health and race and connect it with historical events and visions of a more equitable future.

Included in this exhibition are the following Artwork and Artists:

  • “AGAPE” by Asha Ama – “AGAPE” is a couture collection of men’s and womenswear, exploring gender fluidity and Black people’s intentional separation in relation to our unique ability to possess agape love. The world has strategically broken down our connection to our own identity and each other, and yet, Black people still find ways to dream, find each other and love, it’s in our blood. We are the survivors of those that chose to survive and our entire existence is made from pure, selfless love. What happens when we fulfill the prophecy and fall in love with each other again?
  • “Hands Behind Your Back!” by Michael Coppage – “The 12 Commandments” series is a play on words using the 10 commandments and “12,” a slang term from rap culture meaning “police.” Directly in conflict with commandments like “thou shalt not kill” and “thou shalt not bear false witness,” police have historically used their power to demonize, arrest, maim and kill Black people. This sculpture highlights how even compliance with these commands can end in death. This project is not meant to demonize police but to highlight the assertion of power over Black bodies and the systemic issues that arise as a result.
  • “TOGETHERNESS” by Julia O. Bianco –  The tent is made with canvas dropcloth, cyanotyped and further intervened by the artist. Part of the cyanotype work was made using organic matter collected in Burnet Woods. Inside the tent, a series of uneven handmade cushions invoke the idea of gathering around a fire. In the center of the tent, stacks of poems written collectively during the “Walking the Winter” sessions can be found. Writing prompts allow visitors to reflect on what it means to be and to make in community. “Togetherness” is a work meant to be inhabited and interacted with, a space for healing, rest and reflection created with collaboration from Robin Klebau, Jennifer Beach, Derek Beach, Madelyn McArthur and Curtis Graves. Inspired by time spent collectively during the winter months, Bianco creates a form of shelter that invokes the feeling of the winter in the woods, as well as the feeling of a safe space to simply be with others.
  • “I’m Still Listening” by Brent Billingsley – A continuation of the “I’m Listening” project showcasing police/community engagement, this final product is a line of hand-designed, costume-painted, artistically-rendered garments created by high school students. With content arising from a series of facilitated discussions with students, teachers and police, the creation of these T-shirts empowered youth through creativity, design, relationship building, self-esteem, continuity of care, artistic drainage of emotions, focus and fun.
  • “Murmurations” by Michael Thompson – “Murmurations” explores the mesmerizing group movement of thousands of starlings as they flock in intricate and undulating patterns during their congregate flight, as well as the power of collective action to protect and progress our communities. The work draws parallels between natural and human systems, recognizing and marveling at the strength and beauty achieved when working for the common good. The project aims to emphasize interconnectedness, resilience and the transformative potential of collaboration by inviting contemplation of our efforts toward justice and dignity. The painting serves as a testament to the collective capacity of voices, actions and aspirations working toward a shared vision.

ArtsWave’s Black and Brown Artist Program supports Black and Brown artists in the Cincinnati region who interpret the themes of our times. It is one way that ArtsWave works to increase the sustainability of organizations and artists that focus on the preservation and advancement of Black arts and culture. ArtsWave’s partnership with the City of Cincinnati, Duke Energy, Macy’s, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Fifth Third Bank and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center make the program possible.




Free Admission

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National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

50 E Freedom Way , Cincinnati , OH 45202

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