‘Africa to America Unity in Art 2’ is an exhibition opening at Earthsoul Gallery in Smyrna on Saturday, Feb 8. With an artist reception from 6-9 pm. Participating artists include Benneth Wilson, Barbara and Leroy Hodges, Thaxton Waters, Elisheba Israel, Michael Mucker, James Makuac and Nikk Isaac. The exhibition runs until Saturday, March 8 at Earthsoul Gallery, 307 Hazelwood Drive, Smyrna, Tenn. 37167.
Earthsoul, owned and operated by artist Angela Elkins, a graduate of Watkins College of Art and Design, opened in January of 2012 with the dream of sharing local artists’ ideas and creative visions with the public. She also wanted to bring accessible art into Smyrna where there was a need and help promote art in the community to ignite and nourish a creative spark in the community—and to provide a venue where artists and art lovers can create a dialog. The goal is to enrich the community with thought, emotion, and wonder.
“‘Africa to America Unity in Art 2’ is a mixture of artists from both in an art exhibition,” organizer Benneth Wilson said, “and has a variety of styles from abstract to realism. And art, no matter where produced, has a kinship of the soul.”
Dr. Barbara Hodges said creating art that invites the viewer to ponder and explore is her primary goal.
“A passion for hope, excellence, beauty, and things spiritual is reflected in paintings that also reflect my love for vivid, bold, brilliant colors, textures, light, and mystery,” she said.
Husband Leroy Hodges firmly believes that our children hold the key to the future of the world.
“My paintings are designed to capture not only the beauty in nature, but also what can be imagined, the struggle, joy and pain of the Human experience,” he said. “My art is meant to be expressive, thought provoking, and imaginative. My art offers the viewer possibilities into the human experience.”
Artist Nikk Isaac was born in Nigeria where inspiration to carve wood came from a wooden crafted toy his late father gave him. When his little toy broke, he then looked for ways to fix it. This brought out the desire and talent in him to begin crafting bigger and more detailed carvings, and he continues to work predominantly in the medium of woodcarving.
James Kuol Makuac is part of a large group of young men called The Lost Boys of Sudan.
“We emigrated from a beautiful land that only blessed us with extreme hardship,” Makuac said. “We are called the Lost Boys because we were forced as children to flee our villages and families. We ran for our lives through the jungles and desert, across three countries trying to escape the civil war between Northern and Southern Sudan. This war continues to this day. It is as important to paint the horrors of war as it is a beautiful flower. Our life before the war was like a beautiful garden.”