Feb 19th, 2024, 08:25 PM

"An Ode to Blackness…Everywhere"

By Sofia Buitrago-Carevic
Visitors of the exhibition in Combes (Image Credit: Sofia Buitrago-Carevic)
An Unveiling of the Celebration of Artistry at AUP's New Exhibit

On the first of February, the Fine Arts Gallery at the American University of Paris hosted a group exhibition entitled: 

An Ode to Blackness…Everywhere. 

The significance of the gallery opening up, as a space for dialogue and artistic exploration in honor of Black History Month, marked the beginning of a journey that delves into cultural identity and offers a kaleidoscope of rich experiences.

Exhibit in Combes featuring artwork by Donatella Jackson. (Image Credit: Sofia Buitrago-Carevic)

The show began with an extraordinary and heartwarming introduction by the curator, Aalyiah Heath, a former Peacock member, AUP graduate, and lead director of POPOUT Magazine. Heath spoke of it being very easy to curate this show; all that was needed was to look to her friends and the people surrounding her. Her speech emphasized the exhibition being about the storyteller, the artist, as much as it is about the artwork, both of which took our breaths away. Those involved created a sensational show, a collaborative effort between eight artists, many of whom met each other for the first time only two weeks prior, at the start of the big idea. They, along with their artwork, gleamed, each piece encapsulating inspiring concepts with unique and distinctive perspectives. With each of their pieces, the artists wanted to convey the stylistic qualities and aspects of each of their own countries, cultures, and backgrounds. The works also explore ideas like: color being a part of everything and expanding everywhere, dream-like afro-futurism, black identity, the ability to continuously create such joyful communities, and the conscious envisionment of a new future.

Awo Marlene Ahodetor being interviewed on her piece Black Narratives. (Image Credit: Sofia Buitrago-Carevic)

The art installations go through an editing process, which changes positioning (i.e., how and where they are hung), so the artists were able to see their work displayed together on the move-in date of the exhibition. Alumni, faculty, students, and other artists came to see the final product. The exhibit spotlights works of many different mediums, ranging from installations, paintings, and engravings, to street, candid, studio, fashion, and documentary photography. All of which were created by artists from around the world, who were all present at the opening. The display will remain open for viewing at AUP (Combes and Quai) until March 19, 2024.

Cultured (Black) Pearls installation by soulfood x MADIKHAM. (Image Credit: Sofia Buitrago-Carevic)

An Ode to Blackness…Everywhere showcases the works of

Caribbean Household by Akil Carter. (Image Credit: Sofia Buitrago-Carevic)

Those involved created an incredibly celebratory environment. Seeing how these works complement each other is remarkable, they exude a sense of synergy and profound unity. They enrich each other, as the artists did for one another, some explained the joy it always brings to work alongside like-minded people who are rooting for each other. To be a part of this show, even as a mere viewer, was a thrill. It is all the more special knowing that timing is everything; the curator mentioning the luck they were given to have the artists here, in Paris, at the perfect time to be able to participate in and attend the phenomenal exhibit.