SJC Long Island is celebrating artwork by African-American artists through “Women of Color,” an art exhibition on display in the Board Room Gallery from Oct. 3–Nov. 5.
The exhibition features work from Cheryl McBride, Marie E. Saint-Cyr and SJC Brooklyn’s Director of the Council for the Arts Ramona Candy — three artists of different generations who each use the element of color to comment on the culture and conditions of the African-American community.
“As an African-American woman, my connection to my art is personal and inescapable,” said McBride, an associate professor of art at Nassau Community College. “My race gives me a unique perspective into societal inequities. Black women have historically stood up during times of social polarization, and I’m no different in response to the current environment in this country.”
To learn more about these artists and their work, join the virtual Round Table event on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 12:40 p.m.
Making a Statement with Art
Saint-Cyr, who migrated to the United States from Haiti at the age of 8, draws inspiration for her artwork from the culture of the Caribbean.
“As a Haitian-American artist, the colors in my paintings evoke the charm and vibrancy of Caribbean pastorals alongside the urgency and layered energy of urban landscapes,” said Saint-Cyr, who was awarded a yearlong residency with the Haiti Cultural Exchange. “The bright and saturated colors of the paintings express the strength and vibrancy of Haitian people.”
McBride hopes to demonstrate through her work the kind of impact art can have on societal ills.
“Whether making art as a form of activism, criticism, instruction or inspiration, I see my work as a response to challenging established thought and provoking change through public discourse,” said McBride, who has been working in the art field for more than 35 years.
Candy, a former dancer who performed in the ’70s and ’80s with a major African dance company, felt a sense of great awe, pride and respect as she painted portraits of African-American figures who made significant contributions throughout history.
“Posting one figure each month on my personal Facebook page was an antidote to the abundance of bigoted and violent posts,” said Candy, whose work is inspired by her Caribbean heritage, her dance career and growing up in Brooklyn, where she still lives today. “It was an antidote to videos of police brutality. It was and is a celebration of black inventions, activism, talent and excellence.”