Feldman-Horn exhibit showcases ‘Black Like We’

In honor of Black History Month, the Feldman-Horn Gallery is hosting an exhibition called “Black Like We.” The exhibit, which opened Feb. 5 and runs through Feb. 23, showcases contemporary art by African and African-American artists.

The opening of the gallery was celebrated with a reception last Sunday afternoon, which featured live jazz and catered African food.

The Isamu McGregor ’07 Combo performed, along with singer Imani Alexander ’99, a substitute dance teacher at the Middle School this year. The Feldman-Horn Gallery, though designed for student art, has previously hosted professional shows.

Last year, the Chinese Parents’ Association sponsored an exhibition of Chinese art, and this past fall, the Korean Parents Association coordinated one with Korean art.

Visual arts teacher Cheri Gaulke volunteered to organize this exhibit. She collaborated with Ernie Wolfe ’68 (Ernest ’10, Russell ’12), the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, the Black Leadership Awareness and Culture Club and Parents of African American Harvard-Westlake Students to make “Black Like We” come to life. 

Wolfe owns the Ernie Wolfe Gallery, which features mostly Sub-Saharan African art.

He selected seven African artists from Ghana, Kenya and the Ivory Coast to showcase in “Black Like We.” 

Scott Canty, the curator of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, selected seven African-American artists who live in Los Angeles for the exhibit, “We are grateful to the Municipal Art Gallery for installing the work,” Gaulke said.

A crew from the Municipal Art gallery spent an entire day at the school setting up the exhibit.
Because the art is worth many thousands of dollars, parents in PAAHWS sit at the gallery every hour that it is open, standing guard.

“I want to break open people’s stereotypes of what African art is,” Gaulke said. “I think the show addresses stereotypes in many ways, because what you see in the show is just an incredible range of artwork. A lot of times when people think of African art, they think of it having a particular look — idols and woodcarvings and masks. I thought it would be really interesting to juxtapose this with contemporary African art.”

“Black Like We” presents a wide variety of art, from traditional sculptures to the digital prints of artist Mark Steven Greenfield.

Greenfield, along with Wolfe, spoke about his work to students in BLACC and faculty members at the gallery’s opening.

 Some of the works featured in the gallery include a sculpture of a coffin, a Jackie Chan movie poster painted on a canvas sack and a giant sculpture of a soaring Michael Jordan carved out of one large piece of wood.

Some paintings have a political edge, including ones depicting the war in Iraq and the 2000 presidential elections.

“The African artists are very politically aware,” Gaulke said. “They have a very global sensibility in their work.  It’s interesting to see how much American imagery is in the African art.”