1001 Black Men #911

1001BlackMen911Web

At the end of last April, I saw the Kehinde Wiley exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. If you’re not familiar with the artist Kehinde Wiley and his work, you should follow this link. He is best known for his portraits of everyday Black men in heroic poses that are often based on old master paintings.

The exhibit was breathtaking, and the experience of walking into the first gallery of the show is something I will never forget. Mad props to the Brooklyn Museum for creating the most moving and dramatic entrance into a show that I have ever encountered. A lot of the paintings in this show were huge–up to 96″ x 72″ and even larger; and they were beautiful, every single one.

Wiley’s art is powerful stuff, and I loved watching the African American men at the show contemplating the paintings around them. Their expressions ranged from amused to rapt to proud, and I wondered what they were experiencing, walking through an entire exhibition of works celebrating their beauty and power.

Several of my upcoming posts depict men I encountered at the Wiley exhibit. These pieces are the result of me looking at real-life Black men looking at Wiley’s paintings of Black men. The background of each drawing evokes the richly patterned backgrounds for which the artist is known.

Ajuan Mance

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