From August 3 to October 22, the Block Gallery is displaying a Collection of Changes, a diverse group of art pieces from the Municipal Art Collection, artwork owned by Raleigh intended for public use.
Despite their variety of styles, every artist in the Block Gallery exhibit has one goal: to prompt new dialogue and appreciation for different perspectives.
Stephanie J. Woods’s art is a way for her to elicit discussion about the Black Lives Matter movement. She does this by creating head wraps designed to empower her audience of African American women.
These wraps are very significant for her and her audience because it used to be that head wraps were enforced as a way to oppress black women, specifically creole women of color (the tignon laws).
Now Woods hopes that by making it her own, other African-American women feel courage and create a collective identity when they look at work, instead of just seeing an old sign of oppression.
Caption: One of many of Stephanie J. Woods’s collection of head wraps inspired by graphic t-shirts. A shirt with “black girl magic” on the front is what spurred Woods to create this wrap. (Photo courtesy of Savannah Sinor).
Saba Taj also tries to promote progress for people of color, but her main focus is on LGBTQ+ rights.
Their section of this Block Gallery exhibit depicts different LGBTQ Muslims in an effort to decrease homophobia. These paintings portray people whose community ostracize them because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Caption: Saba Taj uses paint, glitter, and gold leaf in this portrait of a queer Muslim. Taj listens to the stories of many LGBTQ Muslims to find inspiration for their art. (Photo courtesy of Savannah Sinor).
Taj hopes that through art, they can raise awareness for the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community.
The discussion brought on by this artwork is incredibly important, especially since the topics of these artworks are still so relevant today.
While there may not have been a focus on them in the news lately, these topics still matter, and progress in these areas is still needed. That is why galleries like the Collection of Changes are so essential because they can act as a catalyst for change.
You can visit the collection at 222 W. Hargett Street or online here.
Hi! My name is Savannah and I am a staff writer for The Mycenaean. I have been in Girl Scouts for 12 years and I am currently interning with Buffett and Beyond.