Healing Our Humanity: Finding Hope, Love and Unity
Presently on view at Steffen Thomas Museum of Art, Georgia is the group exhibition Healing Our Humanity: Finding Hope, Love and Unity. Running until 10 July 2021, the exhibition features recent work by five artists carefully curated by September Gray: Margaret C. Brown, Zerric Clinton, Oliver Enwonwu, Andrae Green, and Nnamdi Okonkwo.
Healing Our Humanity compiles a broad range of perspectives that tell the dynamic story of the current social climate and a path forward. The museum sought out artists whose work inspires communication, healing, hope, love and unity, citing this quote from their namesake:
“The most important aspect of art is communication. I use universal themes and I try to communicate with all persons. Art is unique in that a translation is not necessary, and a genuine work of art can be more powerful than a dozen ambassadors. If we can exchange our ideas and our feelings through art, I think it will be a little more difficult for us to go shooting and dropping bombs on each other. Perhaps I am an idealist, but this is what I believe and this is the purpose of my work.”
– Steffen Thomas, November 1965 from “The Turbulent World of Steffen Thomas” by Richard Ainsworth as published in ‘ATLANTA’, the Official Publication of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
Ironically, the political climate and social issues we face now are not so different from those occurring when Thomas gave this interview in 1965. The turbulence of the Vietnam War and the growing Civil Rights movement had the nation on edge. For over sixty years, Steffen Thomas produced works grounded in the ideal that all people belong to a single family of man, without regard to race, gender, identity or any other label.
About the Artists
Margaret Brown, Sculptor/Painter (Covington, GA)
Margaret Caldwell Brown is a painter and sculptor who draws inspiration from everyday life and the foundations of art itself: line, colour, light, and form. She describes her work as “my impression of Impressionism”. Her painting technique comes from the “Waffle House School” because it is “diced, scattered, smothered, and covered.” Brown studied art at the New York University College in New Paltz, New York in the 1970s, and returned to painting after retirement. She went on to learn from instructors in the Washington Art Association in Washington Depot, Connecticut. While living in Key West, Florida, she took a course in welding from Community College in Key West and now applies those skills towards sculpture.
Zerric Clinton (McDonough, GA)
Dr Zerric Clinton is an abstract artist whose work uses symbolism, colour, and rhythm to communicate how social issues affect people. He has over 25 years as an art educator in Georgia, and recently served as President of the Georgia Art Education Association. Clinton received his BFA in Art Education from Valdosta State University, an M.A. in Educational Leadership, Valdosta State University, and a PhD in Art Education from Florida State University. Over the course of his career as an artist, his work has been exhibited in New York, Baltimore, Seattle, New Orleans, and several other major cities across the United States.
Oliver Enwonwu, Painter (Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria)
In his work, Oliver Enwonwu elevates Black culture to challenge racial injustice and systemic racism by celebrating the cultural, political and socio-economic achievements of Africans through an examination of African spirituality, Black identity and migration, contemporary African politics, Pan Africanism and the global Africa empowerment movement. He received his Master of Art History degree from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and currently serves as President of the Society of Nigerian Artists. He has exhibited in significant exhibitions across Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom, and Nigeria.
Andrae Green, Painter (Springfield, MA)
Andrae Green is a painter whose work explores the nuances of the collective consciousness that has been shaped by time, mythology and memory. Green was born in Kingston, Jamaica where he attended the Edna Manley School for the Visual and Performing Arts and later earned a full scholarship for his MFA in Painting at the New York Academy of Art. He was an artist in residence at Experience Jamaique in Geneva, Switzerland in 2019 and has exhibited in the United States, Jamaica, Canada, China, and France.
Nnamdi Okonkwo, Sculptor (Fayetteville, GA)
Nnamdi Okonkwo is known for creating exaggerated figures, and describes his sculptures as “simplified and stylised to express better my thoughts” and “straight to the point and devoid of pretension.” Okonkwo was born in Eastern Nigeria where he received a degree in painting before heading to the U.S. to earn his BFA in Sculpture at Brigham Young University (BYU), Hawaii and later his MFA in Sculpture from BYU, Provo.
About the Juror
Following a noteworthy singing career, September Gray ran a successful fine art consultancy practice focused on collecting strategies before opening the September Gray Fine Art Gallery. Gray’s career in the performing arts and decade as an art consultant inform her role as a gallerist. An avid collector, she is known for “speaking the language” of both artist and collector, connecting clients to artworks that resonate with their individual tastes, existing collections, overall investment strategy and appetite for risk.
Gray holds a B.A. in Art History from DePaul University. A committed art education advocate, she serves on a number of non-profit boards and is co-founder of The Gray Foundation, an organisation committed to building a world of enriched life options for youth through the promotion of art and education. Gray shares art news and collection strategies in her electronic quarterly journal, The Gray Book.
About the Steffen Thomas Museum of Art
The Mission of the Steffen Thomas Museum of Art (STMA) is to provide an opportunity to engage, to learn, and to be inspired through Steffen’s life, art, and legacy. Established in 1998, STMA is one of a handful of single-artist museums in the United States. In addition to creating art exhibitions, STMA hosts art education programs, events, and workshops for children and adults.
The Museum is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 11 AM to 4 PM, located at 4200 Bethany Rd in rural Buckhead, GA. Increased safety measures are in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus. For groups of ten or more, guests are asked to schedule their visit in advance to guarantee enough space for social distancing – call 706-342-7557 or email email@example.com.
For more information, visit www.steffenthomas.org.
September 23, 2021
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