Black artists express themselves at GSAC

Devan stood gazing proudly at the art on the walls on opening night of the art exhibit at Good Shepherd Arts Center (GSAC). The 23-year-old artist beamed, “This vibe resonates with me. All of the artists in this show are black! It’s rare that black artists get an opportunity to exhibit with other black artists. I love the scene that is unfolding before me.”

Dana Sebastian-Duncan connected 21-year-old intellectual conceptual artist Taylor Deed to Sister Glynis. She had invited Taylor to exhibit in last year’s #ThisIsMyFerguson event at Good Shepherd Arts Center. Sr. Glynis founded and runs Good Shepherd Arts Center. Within minutes she and Taylor were planning how to showcase young black men and women who use art to tell stories of what has molded and shaped their lives. The exhibit ultimately revealed the nature of art as activism. It revealed Blackness as spirituality. And the show expressed the global, collective, creative revolution ignited by the movement and spirit of Ferguson.

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Lidia Santos exhibited several pieces of her works at GSAC in August.

Showcasing new black artists

The exhibit ran from August 3-24 and featured eight young black artists ages 19-29.  21-year-old Kavan (aka KFlako) said he puts himself wholeheartedly into everything he expresses through art. He often uses the symbol of the eye in his pieces to represent death of the old self giving way to a new self of the subconscious. 25-year-old Lidia Santos said she enjoys using her art form to depict growth and connectedness to nature through soul and body. 20-year-old Yusef Brown uses art to express the duality of the nature of spirituality and balance between the masculine and feminine.

Good Shepherd Arts Center often showcases first-time exhibitors to help them find an audience. Taylor, who curated the show in collaboration with artists Matthew Scott and Jayvn Solomon, said, “Some of the featured black artists in this show have never exhibited before. It’s exciting to see their works on display!”

Elevating creative expressions

Jayven said, “We are literally about elevating artists and their creative expressions. There are enough resources for every artist to succeed in St. Louis.”

Matthew believes in taking the egalitarian view when curating art shows. He said, “We want people to feel welcome when viewing artists’ works, not cliquish. Artwork demonstrates that we are all interconnected, even though we may think we are isolated from one another.”

Good Shepherd Arts Center is holding a fundraiser in September. All donations will be matched 1:1, up to $5,000, from an anonymous donor. Help give budding artists and established local artists more opportunities. Donate today!

More stories like this appear in the Sisters of the Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America monthly newsletter Items of Interest.

black artists
Ferguson visual artist Kavan (aka KFlako, left) and his friend since high school, rapper Danien Rose. The 21-year-old men are collaborating to meld Kavan’s art with Danien’s rap lyrics.

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Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette is the Communications Coordinator for Sisters of the Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America. She is a career photojournalist who has served in various capacities of print, broadcast, and corporate communications. Jeanette is devoted to creation and is particularly focused on saving pollinators and other wildlife species and their habitat. She is an ethical vegan and created the website veganstoryteller.com