Black History Month Features Talented Artists

February 8, 2024

Local Black artists filled the Pence Union Building with lively and intricate expressions of their Black experience as a part of EWU’s Black History Month celebration. The “Local Black Artists on Display!” exhibition was one of many events which will be held throughout February, each centered around the theme of Afropolitanism: Expressing Black Joy. 

At the exhibition, visitors were invited to browse the art and speak to the artists — many of whom had QR codes that explained their work in further detail. (Check out this story by KXLY about Black History Month at EWU.)

For Amera Gaymon, pictured below with her daughter and some of her art, this was her first opportunity to showcase her artwork to the public. Some of her pieces — nuanced, black-and-white portraits of African American faces — are five years old. Gaymon, joined by some of her family members, spoke about the inspiration they provided for her work. 

After a traumatic birth experience with her second child, Gaymon created a piece entitled Mother to explore the difficulty and sacrifice required from motherhood. “I created Mother so I could remind myself of what a mother is, to nurture, to love, to go,” Gaymon explains. “I use dots and lines and texture to represent all that we carry as Black people.”

Robert Lloyd, an emeritus professor of art who is pictured below, spoke of his time at EWU and his Black experience. Lloyd, 80, said that over the course of his personal and professional life he has encountered both the joy and pain of being Black in America — experiences that have long animated his photographic art. He has recently begun exploring how the algorithms driving images generated by artificial intelligence intersect with longstanding issues of race, class, and prejudice.

During the event, artists had the opportunity to share their inspiration and methods with those in attendance at a live Q&A session. Artist Shantell Jackson, pictured below, talked about her experience using color and texture to express her view of the world. 

“I am a Black artist and so I embody my Black experience in my art, whether or not you can see it explicitly,” Jackson said. 

Her pieces were abstract and bold with striking contrast between the color black and near neon yellows and greens. She joined in the camaraderie of sharing her art with the other black artists and the EWU community. “I experience joy by doing art,” says Jackson. “I experience joy by sharing it.”

For a full list of EWU’s Black History Month events, visit our website