The new "Blackout" exhibit at BESS Art Exposure in Merrillville highlights contemporary African-American art.
"BESS Art Exposure has a mandate to engage the public in open dialogue about issues and ideas that affect African-American communities," owner Jesse Johnson said. "'Blackout' is the theme of the exhibition in which artists speak on the culture and controversy that surrounds them. Every African-American may not feel the same way on all issues – as you will see in their individual works. The issue of 'am I black enough' or 'am I too black' often play on the minds of some artists as well as African-Americans in general."
Johnson said he wanted, with this exhibit, to create a space for African-American artists to introduce viewers to their perspectives.
"Although our experiences may vary, you're going to know everyone is black by their work," he said. "We are all connected by our collective blackness. However, as individuals, we have a unique narrative to share through our respective pieces of art. The foundation or our artistry is that we are all black. Some artists might follow a trend of their favorite artists, while other artists speak on issues of race, discrimination, or an appreciation for those who fought for justice and equal rights."
Local and national artists are showcasing a variety of contemporary artworks, including photography and graffiti-influenced pieces. They include Kenard Jackson, Mark McPhail, Maurice Hodo, Craig Carter, Afi Ese, and Johnson himself.
BESS Art Exposure Gallery