20:43 PM

UHCL's Art Gallery exhibition spotlights works of local African American artists


The Art Gallery at University of Houston-Clear Lake is commemorating Black History Month with an exhibition entitled, “The Way Forward: The Chronicles of Our Culture,” with an opening reception Friday, Feb. 3 from 6-7:30 p.m. The show, which features the work of 10 local African American artists, examines the past, present and future of African American life through paintings, drawings, sculptures and photography.

UH-Clear Lake double-alumnus Eddie Filer, Jr. collaborated with the other artists to create the show, intended to highlight specific experiences and personal insights as African Americans and as artists.

Filer said that among his work in the exhibition, the depiction of his father on the porch with the red cooler resonated most. The painting, Filer said, is called “Good Life.”

“That is about my time with my father on his porch,” he said. “He had the dreaded disease of dementia. He had been a heavy smoker, and in the summer, he did not run his air conditioner. The house was full of heat and smoke, so our meeting place was on the porch.”

The red cooler in the corner holds particular significance to the story of the painting.

“That red cooler represents the ‘good life,’” he explained. “My father used to cook and he would cater parties when he retired. His coolers were always huge. He had several of them that were filled with beer, meat, and good food. Everything came out of those coolers, and for him, they were part of his good life.”

He said those times sitting on the porch with his father represented some of his best memories. “We sat out there and had the best conversations,” he said. “This painting is about those times and about him having dementia. That’s something that can affect anyone.”

Filer said that he and his artist collaborators decided to name the exhibition “The Way Forward” to communicate their experiences as African American artists in all phases of life.

As a Black History Month event, Filer said he hoped that people visiting the exhibition would gain insight into each artist’s world and recognize the messages they intended to communicate through their work.

“Each artist in the show has tackled a certain time period in their lives, and they all want to express that if you want to deal with the present, then it’s necessary to understand the past,” he said. “In order to understand the way forward, you have to know where you came from. Then you have to be a willing participant in moving things forward.”

The exhibition also spotlights the works of Cedric Ingram, Rodney Butler, Romeo Clay Robinson, Dominic Clay, Shawn Artis, Earl Jones, Zsavon Butler, Christie Leday and Lee Carrier.

For more information about UHCL’s Art Gallery, and to learn more about this exhibition, go online.