The Toledo Museum of Art has rolled out the red carpet for Black History Month with a series of events that celebrate black art and culture. All of the events for this month are inspired by the masterful work of Kehinde Wiley, whose exhibit, A New Republic is on display now through May 14, 2017.
The exhibit opened with an up close and personal look at the life and career of Kehinde Wiley, who appeared in the Peristyle on February 8th. Following his enlightening talk, guests were able to greet him in person and experience his exhibit. The TMA has seen nothing like this body of work which is filled with color, movement, emotion and texture. Wiley, a native of Los Angeles, enjoyed art at a young age and later graduated with a master’s of fine arts from Yale University. His work was cultivated by studying a field that often omitted the presence of African Americans in published art. His desire to see classic pieces reinvented with black people, sparked what has become a bit of a street crusade for models. Models were sought out in the streets of cities within the United States and he would photograph them, then paint their likeness onto life-sized, layered backdrops filled with color and whimsical patterns. Wiley’s work has extended across the waters to Nigeria, Sri Lanka, and even Brazil, where he has discovered local models for his work on what he calls “The World stage.” Through his platform, Wiley is addressing social issues such as sexuality and identity by marrying traditional painting techniques with a modern approach featuring people of color.
While this month has already showcased events that celebrate black culture such as the February 18th evening of events including a dance party with DJ Keith Success, Poets, Act I of I am Black and Beautiful, a photo booth, cash bar and a hip-hop orchestra from OSU, the events continue throughout the duration of this month and the Wiley Exhibition. On February 25th, there will be an after-hours guided exploration and discussion of Old Masters and hip-hop in the Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic special exhibition and on March 4th, the Hypnotic Brass Band will play at the TMA Peristyle. For more information about the series of events in celebration of A New Republic, please visit toledomuseum.org.