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Afrohio Art 78

Group show
Curator: Helen E. Haynes
Organiser: NOVA New Organization for the Visual Arts

Afrohio Art 78; An Exhibit of Ohio Black Artists was a group exhibition held sometime during 1978. The 29 artists included were as follows: Lawrence Baker, Al Bright, Malcom Brown, Irene M Bryant, Hugh D. Bullock, Sr., Sandy Cargile, Cliff Clay, Ben Collins, Willis ‘Bing’ Davis, Carrie Donley-Gilmore, Gene Gant, Joe Gordon, Michael D Harris, Helen E. Haynes, Johana, Cornelius A. Lindsey, Robert Meaux, Sylvia M. Miller, Cheryl Lisa Neal Read, Ed Parker, Emmanuel Raphael Peoples, Jr., Robert Peppers, Joyce Phillips Young, LeRoy Porter, Thomas E. Shaw, Joe W. Smith, James Powers, Pheoris West, and Gilbert Young.

The work exhibited was broad in nature, though predominantly figurative. The influence of the recent Black Arts Movement was clearly evident in some of the work. Other work exhibited was perhaps more formalist in nature. Within the catalogue, a great many influences, both artistic and cultural, could be detected and observed. Of particular interest is the work that reflects interests in ideas about Africa. Indeed. within the graphics of the catalogue cover, the letters O of Afrohio contained silhouettes of the African continent and the US respectively.

The catalogue was an innovative collection of loose leaf pages, kept together in a small folder. From the Foreword by Helen E. Haynes, one of the exhibitors: “We are extremely proud to bring Afrohio Art 78 to you as an exhibition of the important, unique contribution of the Black artist to American Art.. This represents the first time these artists from across the state have been brought together in one show. All too often the contribution of Black visual artists has been overshadowed or discounted in favor of the performing arts of music, dance and drama…”

Within his introduction (dated February, 1978), Visual Challenges, Kenneth E. Snipes, Exhibit Chairperson of NOVA, the body responsible for organising the exhibition, stated: “The view of Black American Visual Art is a view of Black American life. It is a visual panorama rich in variety and scope just as the lifestyles of Afro-Americans run the American spectrum. The ambiguity and uncertainty which characterized the discussions  of the Black Aesthetic a decade ago are superseded by the vital visual images of Afrohio Art ‘78.

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Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 1978

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