Community art

Inspiring new Fort Worth exhibition shines spotlight on artists of color

Inspiring new Fort Worth exhibit shines spotlight on artists of color

Ari Brielle self-portrait, "Our Faces, Our Voices"
Ari Brielle's self-portrait Photo courtesy of Fort Worth Community Arts Center
Jeremy Biggers self-portrait, "Our Faces, Our Voices"
Jeremy Biggers' self-portrait. Photo courtesy of Fort Worth Community Arts Center
Madelyn Sneed-Grays self-portrait, "Our Faces, Our Voices"
Madelyn Sneed-Grays' self-portrait. Photo courtesy of Fort Worth Community Arts Center
Abi Salami self-portrait, "Our Faces, Our Voices"
Abi Salami's self-portrait. Photo courtesy of Fort Worth Community Arts Center
Susan Sponsler-Carstarphen self-portrait, "Our Faces, Our Voices"
Susan Sponsler-Carstarphen's self-portrait. Photo courtesy of Fort Worth Community Arts Center
Ari Brielle self-portrait, "Our Faces, Our Voices"
Jeremy Biggers self-portrait, "Our Faces, Our Voices"
Madelyn Sneed-Grays self-portrait, "Our Faces, Our Voices"
Abi Salami self-portrait, "Our Faces, Our Voices"
Susan Sponsler-Carstarphen self-portrait, "Our Faces, Our Voices"

A timely new exhibition at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center is setting a precedent by focusing on works of Black artists, people of color, and women. "Our Faces, Our Voices," on view through November 7, features the self-portraits of 15 Dallas-Fort Worth artists.

Co-curated by Raymond Wyatt and Shauna Benoit, the display seeks to shine a spotlight on those who are statistically underrepresented in the art world, both in galleries and museums, they say.

A recent study of 18 museums across the United States showed that about 85 percent of the art in their collections is by white artists, the curators say. Women artists also typically have little representation within group showings, they say.

"Minority men and women have historically been underrepresented in Western art," Wyatt says in a release. "The past few years have begun to see a divergence from this, as more artists of color gain national notoriety for their talent and accomplishments."

"Our Faces, Our Voices" features works by artists Jeremy Biggers, Ari Brielle, Dr. Valerie Bennett Gillespie, Riley Holloway, Amanda Jackson, Jerry Lynn, Stacie Monday, JD Moore, Abi Salami, Armando Sebastian, Madelyn Sneed-Grays, Susan Sponsler-Carstarphen, Desiree Vaniecia, James Zamora, and Stephen Zhang.

The media they use range from traditional oil paint to photography/video, "giving them unbound expression of their voice," the organizers say.      

"This exhibition seeks expose people of all ages, and especially children, to artists of different races and heritages, but allows them to relate to them on a more personal and human level by making their voices be heard," Wyatt says.

To that end, they are encouraging visitors to draw their own self-portrait at the show and hang it on the wall with the other masterpieces.

Why focus on self-portraits?

"Previously, 'master' artists used self-portraits as a demonstration of their ability, and as an announcement of their place within society, their chosen vocation, and artistic style and skill," Wyatt says. "This collection of self-portraits come from artists who themselves grew up lacking representation of people that looked like them and role models within the art world.

"They hope to inspire the next wave of minority children who typically do not get to see people like themselves within the halls of museums and galleries. In their own way, each artist has been giving a voice to aspects of history previously untold, and changing the way we see the world and their place in it."

"Our Faces, Our Voices" is on view now inside the Marlene & Spencer Hays Foundation Gallery at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, 1300 Gendy St. Hours are 9 am-5 pm Monday through Saturday. Follow their Instagram account for updates.