King Arts Complex hosts exhibition of experienced African-American artists

The King Arts Complex lives in its community, celebrates its history and connects the two, primarily via the arts. And so it's apt that an exhibition titled “Ohio Black Masters” will be shown at King Arts.

“This is history, a living history of black artists. It's [the community's] history,” said KAC Cultural Arts Director Lyn Logan-Grimes.

The exhibition features work by African-American artists from around the state, although primarily from Central Ohio. These are artists who have been working, professional artists for at least 25 years, Logan-Grimes said, and have had their pieces shown in museums and galleries, and included as part of significant collections. Curated by Logan-Grimes and current KAC Artist in Residence Talle Bamazi (who also has work in the show), “2019 Ohio Black Masters” includes art from Ron Anderson, Larry Winston-Collins, Beverly Whiteside, Joe Howard, Ike Newsum, Omar Shaheed, Pheoris West and Michele West, any one of whom is worthy of a gallery show in the King Arts Complex's Elijah Pierce Gallery.

“It's an honor to have artists of this caliber show with us. Many of them have close ties with Talle and with the King Arts Complex,” Logan-Grimes said. “You know their names. You know the quality. It's a ‘masters' show. It's that simple.”

“These are people who have worked their whole life, who paved the way for someone like me who came here as an immigrant,” Bamazi said. “If they allow me to hang their work, I am blessed and humbled.”

Bamazi said he paid personal visits to all of the artists to talk to them about the show and their work, and to rekindle friendships.

“I went to talk to them, to find work that hasn't been exposed,” Bamazi said. “This work of Pheoris [West] is something he made for his wife. It's been in their home. This piece by Ron Anderson (‘The Second Coming') he made when [President Barack] Obama was running for a second term. It hasn't been in a gallery show.

“Everything you see here, some is new and some was made a long time ago, but nothing has been shown in public.”

Logan-Grimes said the intent is to have the show be held every two years and to feature different artists in each iteration. Bamazi said he believes the show has the potential to travel around the state, as well.

“2019 Ohio Black Masters” opens Thursday, March 28, with a reception from 6-8 p.m. The show will remain on view at the King Arts Complex through June 15.