The Myrtle Avenue Black ArtStory is back to celebrate Black History Month in the neighborhood. The art-history-social-justice event is organized every year by the local merchants’ group Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, and this will be the ninth year showcasing the work of Black artists’ work in local shop windows.
Love, This Time features nine artists – Tiffany Baker, Ashley Crawford, Steven Mosely, and reproduction prints from Elan Cadiz, Amarachi Crystal, Sophia Dawson, Voodo Fé, Brandon Foushee, Mz. Icar and Olayinka Salami. Visitors will be able to explore the idea of love in three forms of liberation, healing, and (re)unification.
The art includes Sophia Dawson’s print of a young George Floyd wrapped in his smiling mother’s arms, Steven Mosely’s mural, which reminds viewers to love and protect trans Black women, and community gatherings such as Tiffany Baker’s painting of “Love as Healing,” and affectionate works captured by Ashley Crawford and Elan Cadiz.
“We are excited to again present Black ArtStory Month on Myrtle Avenue, which both provides opportunities for artists of color to create and stage their work locally while also celebrating Fort Greene & Clinton Hill’s legacy of being a place where so many Black art makers, cultural shakers, and activists have lived and worked,” said Chad Purkey, Executive Director of the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership.
“We’re grateful to all of our neighbors – artists, institutions, and local businesses – who are partnering with us to stage this series during Black History Month,” he added.
This year’s theme, “Love, This Time,” was curated by Atiba T. Edwards, co-founder and Executive Director of FOKUS, a non-profit with the goal of connecting communities through the arts through an education program, and Executive VP and COO of Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Edwards was born on the island of St. Vincent and The Grenadines in the Caribbean but grew up in Brownsville.
He wanted to focus this year’s Black ArtStory on positive images of Black people in the media, he told Bklyner and was was inspired by the poem “Alone” by poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou to focus this year’s Black Artstory on the liberating power of love, as well as Angelou’s quote: “The love of the family, the love of one person can heal. It heals the scars left by a larger society. A massive, powerful society.”
Tiffany Baker artwork for Black ArtStory / Photo provided by Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn PartnershipThrough the hardships that came with 2020, and with the pandemic laying bare the systemic racism and inequity, Edwards began to take stock of things and how love plays a role in those things, he said.
“Coupled with many people feeling everything from isolation to anger – sometimes at the same time – the notion of ‘let’s try love, this time’ was birthed,” said Edwards.
“Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic brought out xenophobia and many other bad sides of people that lead to harm – physical, mental, and emotional. All of these things combined to create this idea that we need to be reminded of the importance of love,” he added.
Love has been felt in various ways throughout the pandemic, through caring for friends, ourselves, frontline workers, and warmth for complete strangers, love connected communities all over the world. Love also brought strangers together to uplift each other and fight for justice and equity, said Edwards.
“These fights are far from over. The work that is part of this show helps to show what the world can look like in the near feature-all through the power of love,” he added.