Barbadian artists Alanis Forde and Akilah Watts are two of the artists featured in the exhibition “Be of Good Courage,” now on view at the NYC Culture Club in collaboration with the Westfield World Trade Center until January 14, 2022. This is part of a dual exhibition by New York–based curator and art advisor Mashonda Tifrere. See more information below.
Description: Be of Good Courage presents the work of 6 emerging artists who explore themes of a life lived fearlessly. While exploring the topic of personal identity, the works represent a dynamic range of portraiture and paintings that embrace the beauty and variation of Black skin tones and their existence in a world where courage is a prerequisite. Each artist, distinct in their practice lends themselves to the exploration of identity and culture through the lens of deeply personal experiences.
Here are excerpts from the article “In a Pair of New York Shows, Artists of the African Diaspora Reflect on Resilience and Innocence,” by Isis Davis-Marks for Artsy.
This December, Tifrere unveiled her latest project: a dual exhibition presented by Art Genesis and the NYC Culture Club. These shows, titled “Small Wonders” and “Be of Good Courage,” feature an array of portraits and abstract works by esteemed and emerging diasporic artists; proceeds from the former show will benefit Children’s Aid NYC. “[All] of these artists are genius storytellers,” Tifrere said. “Their way of rendering the Black figure and celebrating their own personal heritage and experience is very inspiring to me.” [. . .]
“Be of Good Courage” features a dynamic range of emerging artists—Ronald Jackson, Lauren Pearce, Alanis Forde, Akilah Watts, Robert Peterson, Jaqueline Suowari, Jewel Ham, and Ikeorah Chisom Chi-Fada—who present works addressing the notion of “a life lived fearlessly.” These works unpack themes of personal identity and courage in the face of adversity—narratives that feel particularly relevant within the context of the pandemic. In Forde’s Discourse (2021), the artist weaves a compelling visual narrative around the dual nature of her identity, depicting two identically dressed figures with blue-dotted skin facing one another. Other pieces, like Ham’s Heard You (2021), deftly employ color as a vehicle for storytelling; in this case, vibrant reds and oranges convey a moment of joyful respite. [. . .]
[Shown above: First, Alanis Forde’s “Empirical Dreams of My Arrival,” 2020; second, Akilah Watts’s “Alimentation” 2021.]