Rhonda “Shakur” Carter said she finds inspiration from family, community and history. “I have this piece that looks like Harriet Tubman and she’s running to freedom. It kind of feels like we’re still fighting for freedom and to be heard,” Shakur said. (Photo by Sierra Alvarez/Cronkite News).
PHOENIX – Black art is the great connector – of humanity, of Black history, of family, culture and a vision of life’s value and purpose, according to several Arizona artists who paint, sculpt and create visual works.
“Well, it’s just a fight for freedom it seems we keep having to do,” said Rhonda Carter, known as Shakur, whose works – whether of Harriet Tubman or of a Black woman with a wondrous, adorned Afro – portrays history and the present.
Shakur, who lives in Avondale and works there, was one of the featured Black artists at the Arts HQ Gallery, Surprise, during Black History Month.
Gedion Nyanhongo is a Zimbabwean sculptor. His art reflects his African culture.
“I would like to say this is a universal language which connects us all, it connects all cultures together,” said Nyanhongo, who has participated in the Celebration of Fine Art in Scottsdale for 17 years.
Aaron Marner is mixed-media artist, muralist and painter. He uses spray paint, oil, acrylics and oil to tell stories. Marner often travels from his studio in Scottsdale, California to tell stories.
“I definitely put my emotions and everything I’m dealing with into my work,” Marner said.
His mother was the inspiration for his latest artwork. He also had to deal with his grief over her passing.
“Right before Christmas my mother passed away and it left me in a weird space and this is what I created after that. It’s kind of like a tribute to her,” Marner said.
Researchers and artists have explored the power of art to heal those who use it.
Phillip Collins, who founded the platform Good Black Art to connect emerging artists to buyers, found “collecting art was healing and transformative,” according to a February article by Folasade Ologundudu in the journal Untapped.
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