Jenkins Johnson features works reflecting international political and social issues of 2020 through the work of five African Diaspora artists: Lisa Corinne Davis, Rashaad Newsome, Blessing Ngobeni, Amani Lewis and Raelis Vasquez. In line with the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “When you see something that is not right you must stand up, speak up and speak out.”'
Lisa Corinne Davis explores the complex relationship of race, culture, and history, where form and content merge. She uses abstraction to explore how society compresses identity into singular terms. Davis believes that identity is much more convoluted and complex to be narrowed down to race and gender. She weaves together ruled lines and primary colors with gestural work and organic forms. Davis uses the map as a metaphor for the viewer to try to locate themselves within the composition. Her work is included in many prestigious private and public collections including The Museum of Modern Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and The Philadelphia Museum of Art. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellowship and The New York Foundation for the Arts. She is currently a Professor of Art, and Head of Painting, at Hunter College.
Debuting at OVR:2020 is Rashaad Newsome’s neo-cubist collages, which are components of his new multi-disciplinary “Assembly” series. He draws on advertisements, the Internet, and black and queer culture to produce complex narratives on intersectionality and social practice. He has upcoming projects at LACMA, Stanford University and Oakland Museum. He has exhibited in the Whitney Biennial. He is in collections including the Whitney Museum, LACMA, SFMoMA, and Brooklyn Museum.'
Blessing Ngobeni of South Africa creates a hybrid language that includes surrealism, dada and neo-expressionism. Ngobeni’s large scale, mixed media paintings serve as a scathing condemnation of South Africa’s political and social elite. His work brings attention to the failures of the government to deliver on Nelson Mandela’s promises of a more equal society, post Apartheid. Ngobeni is a 2020 recipient of South Africa’s prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Arts; past awardees include William Kentridge and Mohau Modisakeng. He will have a traveling exhibition in South Africa at the National Arts Festival in 2021. His works are in public institutions throughout including Johannesburg Art Gallery and has been featured in Phaidon’s Vitamin P3.
U.S. native Amani Lewis' work aims to shift the dominant, and often manipulated and simplified, narrative of the Baltimore, Maryland community. Lewis showcases the complexity of the community's stories, and deepens the subject’s perspective of themselves, their power and their relationship to the city. In 2016, they graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) with a BFA in General Fine Arts and Illustration. They recently completed a residency at Fountainhead. They have exhibited at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center, Pittsburgh, PA, and MICA.
Raelis Vasquez is a visual artist who immigrated from The Dominican Republic to the United States. His work explores personal and political themes regarding his experience as an Afro-Latino artist in America. He confronts the inaccurate stereotypes of his Afro-Latino ancestry by unveiling historical silences of family, societal life and the traumatic and disruptive experience of immigration. His work is in collections including the Perez Art Museum, Miami and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. He has a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; he is a 2021 MFA candidate at Columbia University.