Group show highlights Black female artists at Industry City

black female artists
“Cheers To You, Friendsgiving,” by Ariel Dannielle.
Courtesy of LatchKey Gallery

A new exhibit will showcase work from 12 Black female artists at Industry City, aiming to highlight the diversity among artistic people of color that is often ignored in mainstream culture. 

“There’s a tendency to omit Black women from that history and I wanted to find a way to correct that,” said the show’s curator Tamecca Seril. “The fact that this is a group exhibit is emblematic of how diverse Blackness is. Blackness is often projected as such a monolith and I think that this show is so opposite of that.”

The “Last Supper” display will paint its way into the Makers Guild in Building Five on weekends beginning on Feb. 27, living at the Sunset Park warehouse complex along with a sister exhibit at the LatchKey Gallery in Manhattan — featuring a wide variety of works by Black women from around the country and beyond.

Woodcut “Nzingahlisa” by LaToya Hobbs.Courtesy of LatchKey Gallery

The show was inspired by last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, and specifically the movement to “Say Her Name” that drew attention to the police killing of Kentucky woman Breonna Taylor and other women of color.

Seril wanted to promote Black women and give them a platform through their art in order to honor their specific experiences in a more positive light than police brutality.

“‘Say Her Name’ was always in a name of tragedy and it was always too late,” Seril said. “I wanted to give these Black women their flowers. Don’t wait ’til she’s gone, give her her flowers. It’s a celebration of life, a celebration of creation.”

The show’s name references the biblical story Jesus Christ’s final meal, along with the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci, which Seril used as an example of artists erasing important female figures like Mary Magdalene.

Instead, the show repurposes the title to show how Black women are building their own movements to support each other. 

“There’s a lot of talk about inclusivity, but I think it’s more about building your own table,” she said.

One of the works recreates the iconic meal in a modern setting and is called “Cheers To You, Friendsgiving,” by Georgia-based painter Ariel Dannielle, which shows mostly Black women enjoying a potluck meal in a very casual environment, with a mishmash of dishes and one woman holding her young child at the table.

That painting will be on show at the Big Apple outpost on Canal Street, while another work by Dannielle, called “We Adapt,” at Industry City shows a the artist enjoying some boxed wine on her bed while posing in front of a laptop — a scene reminiscent of virtual hangouts of the early COVID-19 quarantine era.

“We Adapt,” by Ariel Dannielle.Courtesy of LatchKey Gallery

“The casualness of all of her work and the fact that she puts herself front and center in all of her work is beautiful,” said Seril. “She’s that person that captures the sentiment of young womanhood and the perspective of a Black woman millennial that we just don’t see.”

The gallery has also launched a free weekly virtual dinner party series called “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” inviting the artists to talk about their work, which started Feb. 23 and will continue on Tuesday evenings on March 2 and 9.

“Last Supper” at Industry City [at the Makers Guild in Building Five, second floor, enter from 51 35th St., between Second and Third avenues in Sunset Park, or at 323 Canal St. in Manhattan, www.latchkeygallery.com]. Weekends from Feb. 27-March 20, noon-6 pm. Tuesday-Friday by appointment. Free.

The free virtual dinner party series “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” is on March 2 and 9 at 7 pm, RSVP [email protected] for links and details.

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