In celebration of Black History Month, the Columbus Museum of Art opens two new exhibitions on February 16. Both William L. Hawkins: An Imaginative Geography and Family Pictures present the work of African-American artists and will be on view through May 20. If you are a member of the museum, mark your calendar for the Member Preview Party for both exhibits on February 15 from 6 - 8:30 p.m.
First, Columbus artist William L. Hawkins returns to his hometown with his first major exhibition in more than 10 years. Hawkins's work ranges from wild animals to Columbus landmarks, all in his dramatic, intense style. With more than 60 works, Imaginative Geography shows the range of Hawkins's self-taught talent. Indeed, the show features both well-known and rarer work from private and public collections, including a painting of Ohio Stadium which CMA recently acquired. That's a great way to get the sports fans out there to come check out this amazing exhibit. And, the exhibit is curated by Susan M. Crawley, who was formerly the curator of folk art at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Do not miss this opportunity to see the work of a local artist.
Next, another CMA original exhibit, Family Pictures, looks at how African-American photographers and artists portray family and family-like relationships. These relationships include blood relatives, neighborhoods, queer communities, family life, the human condition and the history of race. You'll find the work of many artists in many media, such as photographs, installations and videos. Central to the exhibit is the work of Roy DeCarava. He published photographs of life in his Harlem community along with text by Langston Hughes. Called The Sweet Flypaper of Life, the pictures shared the truths of DeCarava's community through his lens, not that of white outsiders. Other artists included by curator Drew Sawyer are John Edmonds, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Lyle Ashton Harris, Deana Lawson, Lorraine O'Grady, Gordon Parks, Sondra Perry, Ming Smith and Carrie Mae Weems.
Also, join CMA for A Community Conversation on Family in conjunction with the Family Pictures exhibit. The event will look at definitions of family, family structures and the family unit. Come together to talk, listen and learn. And, afterward you can preview the Family Pictures exhibit with artist John Edmonds. There is no cost to attend, but you must preregister here.
And to further acknowledge Black History Month, CMA will donate 26 copies of Aminah's World to Columbus Metropolitan Library. CMA's Curator-at-Large, Carole Genshaft, wrote this children's book in honor of Aminah Robinson, a local artist who passed away in 2015. Robinson's work portrayed family and life in Columbus' African-American communities. And, she painted two murals that are still proudly displayed in the Main Library's atrium stairwell. If you've never seen the murals, grab your kids and take a look, then check out a copy of this beautiful new book.