Art as Liberation presents artists from Black Pittsburgh at PNC Park

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CP Photo: Dontae Washington

Mikael Ovuna in Art as Liberation

This past weekend, 1Hood Media, Mikael Owunna Studios, The Redd Studio and Pittsburgh Pirates collaborated to celebrate local black artists with Art as Liberation, an event held outside PNC Park.

Art as Liberation, which took place on June 18, included a live DJ, free food, interactive workshops and music performances, in addition to the 25 black visual artists on display. The event also served to celebrate June 16, which marks the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in 1865. The day became a federal holiday in June 2021.

Art as Liberation presented photographers, artists, graphic designers and others. Owunna, a local photographer and owner of Mikael Owunna Studios, wanted black artists to come together and present art in both new and creative ways.

Owunna paints her models in fluorescent colors and uses a flash that transmits only ultraviolet light. He says that after the murders of Michael Brown and George Floyd, he “wanted to find a way to transform black bodies from places of death into spacecraft with eternal light.”

“Art like Liberation can come from the mind of Mikael Owuna,” said Jasiri X, co-founder of 1Hood Media. “He really wanted to do something for the June 18th, and we set that up
event at the City of Asylum last year. Unfortunately, they have no external
more space, so we decided to call PNC Park and here we are.

Marquez Red, managing member of The Redd Studio, added: “It’s important for people to come together to really think about cultural heritage, freedom and
liberation. We can do all this while building an infrastructure for black artists. ”

Every artist had something that pushed them to get to where they are. For many, these were the consequences of the pandemic.

“I was laid off in 2020,” said Naomi Allen, a mixed media artist who specializes in 3D painting, resin and paper mache. “I just had no other way to make money. I had nothing else to do and started my art business. In my first two days, I made over $ 1,000. I’ve been consistent ever since. ”

Alicia Washington says she was fired in 2016.

“It put a lot of strain on me as I tried to figure out what was coming next,” Washington said. “Because I had so much time in my hands, I started training and painting again. I realized that if I let go of so much happiness and joy when I did them.”

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More graphics in Art as Liberation - CP PHOTO: DONTAE WASHINGTON

CP Photo: Dontae Washington

More graphics in art as liberation

Dominic McDuffie learned about photography by visiting Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh.

“When I went to the library, I started finding black photographers like Tenny
“Harris and Gordon Parks,” McDuffie said. “It simply came to my notice then
The photography pad allowed me to see how I could make photography my own.

Most of Marlon Fullenwider’s portraits are made entirely of glass and are inspired by the art of mosaic, a technique that uses small pieces of material such as stone, mineral, glass, tile or shell.

“I was introduced to the concept of high school mosaic,” says Fulluider. “I like the reflective element that the glass had.”

Evangeline Mensah-Agyekum is an upcoming photographer who is proud of this
black people are the main topics. “Fashion is what inspired me to be a photographer,” says Mensa-Agikum. “Even though I can learn about everyone’s stories and what they went through, it inspires me the most. Having work from us is something special for us. ”

Both Patrick Everett and Sagid Saleh are influenced by the anime.

“I noticed in TikTok that animated pictures are becoming popular. The whole time
“There have been black samurai, black ninjas and martial arts in history,” he said
Everett. “Our culture has influenced and helped everywhere, and I think that’s huge.”

Everett’s portraits are made on glass because he believes they provide
best appearance. “I like everything to be clean, so I put everything on glass,” says Everett.

Most of Saleh’s art is inspired by anime.

“I’ve watched anime all my life. I think a lot of black people feel that way
alienated from society and have been neglected for so long, ”Saleh said. “We’re watching
for inspiration in the media. Much of Japanese art is about coming of age and who
the hero is inside. Many blacks resonate with that. ”

Another local artist, Keisha Patterson, believes that “many black artists work in isolation”, adding: “Gathering is really energizing. This may not be the only time black artists get together.

Joziah Council was one of the musical performers of the event.

“I started at church. Both my grandparents were pastors. Evangelical music is
indeed a pillar of the church, ”says the Council. “It simply came to our notice then
make it my own. “

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Art as Liberation in PNC Park - CP PHOTO: DONTAE WASHINGTON

CP Photo: Dontae Washington

Art as Liberation at PNC Park

Steve Thomas and his wife Camerrin own Caribbean VYBZ and provide it for free
Jamaican cuisine.

“Making food is an art and a passion. If you think you are amazing at cooking
then you have to do it, ”says Steve. “More African Americans need to try to get in
business for yourself instead of doing 9 to 5. Many of us are not educated about it
because we are business owners, so we need to be educated. ”

Stephen Perkins, executive vice president of marketing for Pittsburgh Pirates, also attended the event and said: “Sport can unite people. We saw this as an opportunity to unite all our communities to celebrate black artists. We wanted to give them the platform and exposure they deserve. ”

Kerry Cox is senior director of integrated marketing for the Pittsburgh Pirates and believes the sports organization allows the community to take the lead.

“We have listening sessions with local groups. This is their city, they must have the word
about what needs to be done in the city, ”says Cox.

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