The Acworth Cultural Arts Center is hosting “(dis)Connect: Art of the African Diaspora,” featuring the art of alumni and current Kennesaw State students from Feb. 4 to Feb. 25.
According to the African Union Commission, African Diaspora is broadly defined as “peoples of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality and who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African Union.”
Since February is Black History Month, it’s fitting for the Acworth Cultural Arts Center to host an exhibit displaying the works of black artists. KSU students Ashlyn Pope and Cara Young have art in the show, alongside alumna Kelly Rose Wilkinson and Nigerian artist Kawahya Pastor Daniel.
Wilkinson graduated from KSU in May 2016 and currently works in web design, but she still found time to create her pieces for the show. The exhibit focuses on the theme of self, self-worth and self-love. Her pieces are Afrocentric, or surrounding black heritage. Specifically, they are inspired by women with afros.
“The series I had in the show came to life very organically,” Wilkinson said. “The initial piece that inspired the full body of work was created in class, based on the recommendation of a friend. I actually say ‘I can hear you over my afro’ a lot in jest, so she suggested I put it in a print.”
Professors Deborah Sosower and Valerie Dibble encouraged Wilkinson to create this specific body of work while it was requested for the show by curator and student Donte’ Hayes. Wilkinson said that she struggled in college to find her voice as an artist, so the art show was a critical point in her discovery.
Kawahya Pastor Daniel was the fourth artist featured in the art show. He lives in Nigeria and had his paintings shipped to Acworth for the show. Daniel’s community has experienced attacks by the Boko Haram, a militant Islamic terrorist group.
Wilkinson said that Hayes, the show’s curator, believed the show’s message would be further elevated by having Daniel’s artwork alongside that of female artists.
The Acworth Cultural Arts Center will host an Artist Talk at 1 p.m. on Feb. 18 at the Acworth Library. Wilkinson, Pope and Young will be present to talk about their works in the show.