On Saturday, January 18th, 2020, I had the opportunity to attend the grand opening event for the Roots of the Spirit exhibition, an opening event for the ArtServe, Ft. Lauderdale 2020 Artistic Season. The exhibition was conceived and curated by renowned global curator and cultural emissary, Ludlow E. Bailey. It did not disappoint, indeed, it over-delivered.
I know Ludlow personally and respect his unique talent as a curator. Yet even with the high expectation in mind, I was utterly awe-struck by the impact of the show and the performances at the well attended opening event. I was profoundly moved at the dramatic change the exhibit brought to the ArtServe gallery space and thoroughly impressed by the transforming effect the exhibit had on its aesthetics.
The show featured artists representing the African Diaspora in three distinct categories; new, established, and emerging.
Curator Ludlow E Bailey worked with the artists in the selection, purposefully choosing the pieces that would be included in the exhibition. The selections were made based on multiple criteria including the artwork’s relevance to the theme of the exhibition, its singular impact, and how it intercalates with the other works and artists chosen. This was a challenging process, especially considering the level and talent of each artist’s work and the number of art pieces available for selection. The precise location of each work of art at the exhibit was strategic and chosen for maximum overall aesthetic effect. Mr. Bailey’s exceptional placement skills further enhanced the beauty and highlighted the originality of each work of art – a testament to his own creativity.
In looking at the work of each artist, one can see the extraordinary talent and exceptional creativity of each and every piece. Among the many and varied artworks featured are works by Manuel Mendive (a world-renowned Cuban artist who still resides on the island), global master sculptor, Jallim Eudovic from St. Lucia (the 2019 winner of The Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Award for Excellence, who In 2018 Eudovic unveiled his 7th Chinese Sculpture at the Zhengzhou International Sculpture Park), Moyo Okejedi, Phd., from Nigeria, whose large artwork on canvas, “Time Truck,” graces the entry to the exhibit, Zeek Mathais, from Haiti with “Drum”, George Gadson, USA, with Doors, female artists such as Candy Lopez-Moreno of the Dominican Republic with her magnificent “Urban Hip-Hop Illustrations” as well as the work of established (and much sought after, artist YA Laford from Jamaica, and many others worth seeing. In addition to these artists, Mr Bailey was quite skillful in incorporating a beautiful collection of African American Puppets from the Miramar Cultural Trust, and a very important private collection of contemporary Haitian Art from Jean-Daniel Lafontant.
Roots of the Spirit, with over 40 artists from Africa and the Diaspora is an exquisite and remarkable exhibition and, notably, the largest African Diaspora Art show in Broward County to date. It is currently on display until the end of February for the duration of Black History Month. Go see it for yourself. It is certain to be like no other art exhibition you have ever seen.
Sonia M. Wignall