The Ogden Museum shines a spotlight on artwork from 11 student artists attending Xavier University of Louisiana in its seventh annual HCBU art showcase.
Visual artwork presenting views about racism, sexism, the LGBTQ community and the essence of the Black experience are explored through photography, ceramics, paintings and other media. Many works offer a poignant reflection of the times following reignited conversations about social injustice in the country.
Ogden Museum has already made the exhibition available for viewing online at its website before it opens for viewing at the museum this fall.
The 2020 featured student artists are Kennedi Andrus, Allana Barefield, KaLya Ellis, Barriane Franks, Lauren Gray, Ashley A. Miller, Reid Hobson-Powell, La’Shance Perry, Makeda Wells, Bryce Williams and Maliya Vaughan.
“In my early years as an artist, I never thought to convey an everlasting message to my viewers; however, my thoughts soon changed after witnessing so much controversy and chaos through the topic of social injustice,” Barriane Franks, one of the featured artists, said in a statement. “My experiences with racial and gender prejudice and injustice have driven me to create a modern Social Injustice art series on racism and sexism.”
Some of Franks’ canvas paintings are titled “Chronology of Agony II: Slavery,” “Chronology of Agony II: Lynching,” and “Chronology of Agony II: Brutality.”
The curated showcase marks the seventh year of collaboration between the Ogden Museum and the New Orleans Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. The Links, Incorporated is a women’s volunteer service organization committed to the cultural and economic survival of African-Americans and other persons of African ancestry.
The showcase is held annually in the Museum’s Education Gallery, a designated space, which highlights and exhibits student artwork. Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been an integral part in the work towards racial equity, this collaboration continues to support this goal, museum officials say.
“We are so excited to partner with the New Orleans, Louisiana Chapter of The Links, Incorporated again this year to present the HBCU Art Showcase,” says Ellen Balkin, Ogden Museum Director of Education. “I am continually impressed by the talented work created by these students and the Ogden Museum is proud to host this exhibition each year.”
Ellen Balkin, Director of Education, and Michelle Pontiff, Education Coordinator, along with Xavier University professors of art, collaborated to select the works included in this year’s show.
Penny Francis, Chairman of The Arts Facet for the Links chapter, added “ The goal of The Arts Facet is to produce and support programs to enrich the quality of life of our youth and communities through educational and engaging art experiences while Transforming Communities, Fulfilling Our Purpose. Throughout the country, Links chapters partner with museums, symphonies, arts councils, educational institutes and corporations in order to support art programs, especially where there is a focus on artists of color. We are proud of our partnership with the Ogden Museum. We are duly impressed by the caliber of talent the students at Xavier and look forward to their continued contributions to the arts.”
Xavier University of Louisiana is America’s only Historically Black and Catholic University. Xavier is a nationally recognized leader in the STEM and health sciences fields, producing more African American students who graduate from medical school each year than any other university in the United States.
Xavier University recently made national headlines after Mackenzie Scott, the former wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, gifted the university with a $20 million donation — the largest private donation in the school’s history.