Shepherd Snyder Published

Shepherd University Art Exhibit Highlights Black Women

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An art exhibit featuring artworks of Black women from different walks of life came to Shepherd University earlier this week.The exhibit, titled “Physical and Spiritual Bodies,” features nine paintings of Black figures who were influential in different fields. Each painting represents an element of nature that the subject personifies. Painter Chiquita Howard-Bostic says she connects these elements to the personal and cultural ties of Black women.

“This creates a deconstruction of the depressed depictions of Black women, because then people who deem themselves as being powerful, can walk through these same shoes, and they can align themselves positively with Black women,” Howard-Bostic said.

The subjects depicted include important Black figures like environmental activist Wangari Maathai and NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, a West Virginia native. The elements involved in the exhibit include water, air, fire, earth, and the void. For example, Maathai is depicted in association with the earth because of her conservation efforts.

For Howard-Bostic, the art exhibit is also a way to highlight Black women in predominantly white spaces. As the university’s Associate Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity, she is the first African American woman to serve on the school’s executive leadership team. She says it is important for people of all walks of life to have a sense of belonging and identifiable role models.

“I would like these women to be accepted as powerful women that are able to excel in arts, culture, history, all the different disciplines,” Howard-Bostic said. “I need to show Shepherd students and Shepherd faculty members that there are amazing and powerful and successful and talented Black women in all of the fields of study.”

The exhibit will be shown at Shepherd University’s Scarborough Library through April 16.