Blue&Black: African Rainbow

Mechanical Hall Gallery
February 10-May 15, 2016

Amos Ashanti Johnson, African Rainbow, 1977. Pastel on paper. Paul R. Jones Collection, University Museums. © Artist or artist's estate
Amos Ashanti Johnson, African Rainbow, 1977. Pastel on paper. Paul R. Jones Collection, University Museums. © Artist or artist’s estate

Selected from the University of Delaware’s African American art collection, Blue&Black: African Rainbow underscores the aesthetic and narrative agencies of the African diaspora—the consideration of globalized Black experiences. The visual lexicon of Blue&Black is richly varied, incorporating aesthetic formalism alongside expressions of historic, political and mythopoetic connections to the African continent. Large pastels by Amos Ashanti Johnson, including the recently conserved Hermes Trigmegistus (1977) and African Rainbow (1977), anchor the selection and exhibition’s Afrocentric dimensionality.

Kaylynn Sullivan TwoTrees, Maka Wicasa, 1992. Offset lithograph with leather and straw collage. Paul R. Jones Collection, University Museums. Gift of Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia. © Artist or artist’s estate

Remembrance, ancestral recall, and self-articulation are among the themes that emerge in Blue&Black. Arturo Lindsay’s suite, Children of the Middle Passage (2001), pays homage to the Africans who perished at sea during the transatlantic slave trade: “The stillness of their absence was disquieting,” Lindsay remarks. Howardena Pindell’s Autobiography: Past and Present (1988-89) and Kaylyn Sullivan TwoTrees’s Maka Wicasa (1992) explore intersectional identity within and beyond the African diaspora. As TwoTrees notes: “I see myself as a faceted being—one facet being woman, one artist, one African American, one Native American, and so on.”

Charles Searles, Dance in the Blue Sky I, 1987. Paul R. Jones Collection, University Museums. Gift of Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia. © Artist or artist's estate
Charles Searles, Dance in the Blue Sky I, 1987. Paul R. Jones Collection, University Museums. Gift of Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia. © Artist or artist’s estate

Wedded to the Paul R. Jones Initiative’s 2016 spring semester focus on the performing arts, Blue&Black showcases the interconnectedness of creative impulses across artistic forms. From Earl J. Hook’s tribute—B.B. King (1970) to Charles Searles’s Africa-inspired Dance in the Blue Sky (1987), Mechanical Hall Gallery becomes the proscenium for interarts performance and inspired encomiums. Spring semester programming highlights include the Paul R. Jones Annual Lecture, featuring UD alum Ty Jones, Producing Artistic Director of the Classical Theatre of Harlem (CTH); workshops with choreographer Maria Bauman; and the culminating presentation of “Same Story” – Different Countries in Mitchell Hall.

Robin Holder, Map of Nubia III, 1989. Linoleum print with stencils. Paul R. Jones Collection, University Museums. Gift of Robert and Joanne Mitchell. © Artist or artist's estate
Robin Holder, Map of Nubia III, 1989. Linoleum print with stencils. Paul R. Jones Collection, University Museums. Gift of Robert and Joanne Mitchell. © Artist or artist’s estate

Banner image: Robin Holder, Map of Nubia III, 1989. Linoleum print with stencils. Paul R. Jones Collection, University Museums. Gift of Robert and Joanne Mitchell. © Artist or artist’s estate

PROGRAMMING:

Wednesday, February 10, 5-7 p.m.
Touch of Blues
Celebratory Opening Program and Reception for Blue&Black

View the exhibition, enjoy refreshments and experience a blues performance by the Colin Miller Trio. Music begins at 5:30 p.m.
RSVP: universitymuseums@udel.edu and (302) 831-8037
Mechanical Hall Gallery

Tuesday, February 16, 4-8 p.m.
Special Hours

Mechanical Hall Gallery open 4-8 p.m.

March 4 & 5, 7:30 p.m.
“Same Story” – Different Countries
From Oppression to Resistance to Liberation

Artistic Directors: Lynnette Young Overby and Colin Miller
Mitchell Hall

Thursday, March 10, 4 p.m.
Paul R. Jones Annual Lecture
Ty Jones, Producing Artistic Director, Classical Theatre of Harlem
Gore Recital Hall, Roselle Center for the Arts

Saturday, March 12, 1:15 p.m.
Prologue Talk for REP’s 2 p.m. performance of To Kill A Mockingbird
Ty Jones, Producing Artistic Director, Classical Theatre of Harlem
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts

Thursday, March 24, 11-11:45 a.m.
Perspective on
Blue&Black
Jessica Horton, Assistant Professor, Department of Art History
Mechanical Hall Gallery

Wednesday, May 18, 5-7 p.m.
Open House

Old College and Mechanical Hall Galleries

Pictured from L to R: Ted Jones, artist and then faculty member at Fisk University; Amos Ashanti Johnson, artist; David C. Driskell, artist, and then faculty, Fisk University Professor and Chairman of the Art Dept and Director of the Carl Van Vechten Gallery; Paul R. Jones, Sr.; Paul R. Jones, Jr.; Earl Hooks, artist who had been professor and chair of the art dept at Fisk University before Driskell Photo by Roger Vando, taken at Carl Van Vechten Gallery, Fisk University, Nashville, TN, ca. 1974
Pictured from L to R: Ted Jones, artist and then faculty member at Fisk University; Amos Ashanti Johnson, artist;
David C. Driskell, artist, and then faculty, Fisk University Professor and Chairman of the Art Dept and Director
of the Carl Van Vechten Gallery; Paul R. Jones, Sr.; Paul R. Jones, Jr.; Earl Hooks, artist who had been professor and chair of the art dept at Fisk University before Driskell
Photo by Roger Vando, taken at Carl Van Vechten Gallery, Fisk University, Nashville, TN, ca. 1974
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