In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • 400A Collective Flight of Memory
  • Jamaal Barber (bio)

Click for larger view
View full resolution

[End Page 128]

IN A 1619 LETTER to the treasurer of the Virginia Company of London, Jamestown colonist John Rolfe recorded the arrival of "20. and odd negroes" off the coast of Virginia. You can go to the beach where the ships arrived and stand in the same sand under the same sky and look at the same ocean that those enslaved Africans witnessed. There is a timelessness to that moment. There is a connection to a cultural memory that has been passed down. Now it is 2019. I want to discuss the black American experience, but it is not my story to tell alone. The exhibition 400: A Collective Flight of Memory was first shown in Atlanta, Georgia, and made in conversation and collaboration with black artists of the diaspora.

Conversation is necessary to begin to understand the breadth of the black American experience. The stories that other people tell provide perspective. The experiences of other black Americans inform my understanding of what is possible—whether it's the story of black people who escaped the racial terrorism of the South or the Black Panthers' food program or a black business leader in Atlanta desegregating a neighborhood. All of these are the collective of blackness. It is the job of the artist to represent what has happened as well as the possibilities for what could happen. As a black artist, it is my job to tell our stories in all their fullness.

Like other kinds of representation, visual storytelling relies on the viewer's own interpretation, which is often based on personal experience. There is no single way to look at any image. The power of works created by Hale Woodruff, Elizabeth Catlett, David Driskell, Emory Douglas, [End Page 129] and many more have shown me all the ways blackness can exist. I created several works in this exhibition in direct response to important artists who have influenced me.


Click for larger view
View full resolution

Jamaal Barber, History, Pt. 1, 2018. Woodcut, 30 × 22 in.

Maurice Evans, Memory Gland, 2019. Mixed media, 36 × 48 in.

Collaboration is the show's other major component. Most of the works were made in collaboration with other artists to create new pieces. For instance, artists Tracy Murrell, Charly Palmer, and Brandon Maddox used my prints in making their works. My own art is an exploration of the meanings of blackness, but I did not want to present the show as though I were the authority on blackness. I have my own experience and others have theirs. This story is ours to tell together. [End Page 130]


Click for larger view
View full resolution

[End Page 131]


Click for larger view
View full resolution

[End Page 132]


Click for larger view
View full resolution

Jamaal Barber, What You Need, 2016. Screen print, 20 × 26 in.

Kevin Cole, Lessons That Lead to Blessings, 2018. Linocut, 28 × 36 in.

[End Page 133]


Click for larger view
View full resolution

Larry Poncho Brown, Rebirth, 2019. Digital collage, 24 × 37 in.

Jasmine Nicole Williams, Sweet Watermelon Baby, 2019. Woodcut and acrylic, 35 × 22 in.

[End Page 134]


Click for larger view
View full resolution

[End Page 135]


Click for larger view
View full resolution

Jamaal Barber, Scars (Artifact), 2019. Wood carving, 24 × 48 in.

[End Page 136]


Click for larger view
View full resolution

Derrick Phillips, The Stance, 2019. Mixed media, 18 × 48 in.

[End Page 137]


Click for larger view
View full resolution

Jamaal Barber, What You Need II, 2016. Screen print, 20 × 26 in.

[End Page 138]


Click for larger view
View full resolution

Tracy Murrell, Beneath, 2019. Acrylic, high gloss enamel, encaustic paper, acrylic screen print, resin, 36 × 24 in.

[End Page 139]

Jamaal Barber

JAMAAL BARBER is a printmaker currently enrolled in the graduate program at Georgia State University. His fine art has been seen at ZuCot Gallery in Atlanta; the Atlanta Print Biennial Exhibit; the Community Folk Art Center in Syracuse, New York; and various art shows around the Metro Atlanta area and U.S.

...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 128-139
Launched on MUSE
2019-11-27
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.