CURRENTS: Black Men's Cultural Activism - A Visual Arts Exhibit, with poetry, music and film is a visual art exhibit featuring artworks by F. Geoffrey Johnson and Kerly Suffren. The exhibit features works by two men from two very different generations. Geoffrey is in his 60’s grew up influenced by “Jim Crow” laws and the Civil Rights Movement; while Kerly in his thirties sites the influence of Hip-Hop culture as a major factor in shaping his sense of identity and politics.
The title of the joint showing is taken from a word that is as fluid as black history. Currents can imply anything from in force at the present; accepted as legally valid; or widely accepted, or believed.
CURRENTS offers an opportunity to look at a social/cultural/political continuum of issues and events that touch the lives of black men in positive and negative ways. Both artists find ways to pay tribute to the contribution of Africans and Africans in the Diaspora who helped to shape the culture and political landscape of this nation.
The exhibit CURRENTS speaks to the myriad of issues that face black men in the world. It speaks to current issues that involve all people but specifically to issues involving Africans and people of African ancestry in and throughout the Diaspora. In Africa, it speaks to slavery, yesterday and today. It speaks to the inhumane treatment of Nigerians suffering from fifty-years of oil leaks that is a catastrophic disaster. It speaks to the so-called “first worlds” laissez-faire attitude towards Rwanda’s civil unrest. It speaks to the treatment and non-treatment of people of African ancestry in the United States from slavery through today. CURRENTS speaks to the fabric of America and the values she proclaims versus the actions she takes.
CURRENTS speaks to the culture of Hip-Hop and the impact it has on the lives of young Black men in the twenty-first century. Through imagery and text, Kerly explores the evolution hip-hop—an opportunity to educate audiences about the history of Hip-hop and what makes it a culture as opposed to a music trend. But, it is also an opportunity to ask the hard questions of those who see themselves as products of this culture; “What happened to the promise of black unity and progress?”
Through a series of programs that focus on intergenerational conversations, music, poetry and visual art CURRENTS demonstrates how they connect to the Peace and Justice movements in an evolution of cultural activism from Frederick Douglas to Paul Robeson to Public Enemy. It reverberates with references to the over incarceration of black men, their exclusion from national arts venue, right down to the stereotypes of them as fatherless and violent.
As an exhibit and event, CURRENTS offers us a deeper way to understand the role played by black men in the transformation of the world.
AFSC 404-586-0460 ext. 18
To arrange an appointment to see exhibit:
678-793-2877 or 404-723-0415