In her painting Don’t Shoot, Holly Cole depicts “the double jeopardy of a black man wearing a pandemic face [mask],” tying together this year’s two biggest issues — the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement.
Cole’s work is just one of several dozen pieces featured at the Athenaeum, the gallery in Old Town Alexandria that over the summer became one of the first to reopen with in-person displays during the pandemic.
Speak Your Truth | Black Lives Matter, however, is an online-only exhibition featuring area artists who were selected among those who responded to an open call for submissions tackling issues of race and racial justice.
KaNikki Jakarta, the Poet Laureate of Alexandria, selected the works of poetry and spoken word, displayed as written word texts or YouTube video clips.
Two among the many standouts in this category include Elise Marie Cleva’s Captions, sharing an illuminating anecdote about the Reverend Al Sharpton from when he was only 15 years old and a student in her father’s social studies class, and Kim B Miller’s “Black Crayon,” an evocative and metaphorical tale that begins, “I wonder if the black crayon knows it was never meant to color; I wonder if the black crayon knows how it is pronounced in Spanish and treated in English.”
Artist Victor Ekpuk joined Athenaeum Gallery Director Twig Murray to evaluate the visual art entrees by Shawnta Williams, David Mann, Brittany Greene, QuiChen Fan, Miranda J. Spurley, and Balaji Srinivasan, Ed Tepper, Gene Provenzo, and Victoria Walton.
Now through Dec. 1. Visit www.nvfaa.org.
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