Black artists put their emotions on display at IKEA art exhibit

EDMONTON — A new Edmonton exhibit is hoping to highlight the works of local Black artists.

For Black History Month, pieces from The Art of Reflection will be on display at the Art Gallery of Alberta with a mirror exhibition at IKEA.

The exhibit is a collaboration between the Africa Centre and its youth empowerment initiative, YEGTheComeUp.

“I’m really happy IKEA was willing to partner with us to showcase our art,” said Macha Abdallah, a local artist.

“It’s been a huge blessing for us to be able to show our art in this different kind of way.”

Abdallah explained that each piece that was created for the display is an interpretation of how an artist represents a sense of self during the pandemic.

“I wanted to showcase just being OK with sitting with the lower emotions,” she said.

“It’s OK to experience them during this time but also not to stay there and to continue to look forward to a new hope.”

The Art of Reflection

Abdallah created two pieces, Midnight Blues and Forward, a painting of her grandfather that depicts hope. She said she could see both images fitting into the exhibits theme. 

“I’ll go into my paintings without much direction,” Abdallah said.

“I’ll just be inspired by a face or colours and then after I’m done the piece it’s kind of where I can draw what the meaning of it is or what my personal interpretation of it is.”

Abdallah told CTV News Edmonton that she was honoured to be included in an exhibit like this that represents Black artists in the community.

“I never imagined that I would be featured in the Alberta Art Gallery so soon in my artistic career,” she said.

“I’m always happy to represent for my people, and for people who look like me. Just to be an inspiration to others who aspire to do the same.”

The pieces will be up for the public until the end of the month.

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