A Man Without Culture is Like “A Tree Without Roots” will close this Thursday, February 21st at Makeda’s Ethiopian Restaurant in New Brunswick, NJ. Come out for a cultural affair with live jazz (starts at 730pm), good food, and talented and professional people. “A Tree Without Roots” demonstrates the idea of one’s own cultural knowledge being central to the livelihood and survival of people and their community. This exhibition surveys a wide spectrum of the African Diaspora showcasing works that explore concepts of aesthetics, value, politics, oppression, fear, and beauty through introspective exploration. Each piece is a portrait of the artist and/or community and culture they represent highlighting vastly different perspectives and intentions.
Local lyricist, MC Enigma, visually illustrates his reveries or past realities with paint rather than wordsmithing. This vivid interactive piece, My Worst Nightmare, engages the viewer by employing them to feed the figure by turning a scroll, which reveals a story living inside of him. Kenyan-born/Atlanta-based artist, Kennedy Waireri is inspired by the indigenous cultures he recalls from his hometown. It was not until he relocated to the United States was he motivated to recreate these images making them apart of our visual index too. The scarcity of traditional African cultural visuals and practices in everyday life experiences, especially in Black communities, was/is problematic for many, including Waireri, which he remedies through his work. In the “Clothing and Dress in South African Townships in the Post Apartheid Era” photography series, Shady and Lindeka explore and interrogate the sartorial landscape of impoverished communities to reveal traditional influences in economically oppressed and media saturated societies. The visual intensity of Nelson illustrates the adoration for a powerful civil rights leader and living legend. The emphasis on his lines tells stories and symbolizes the rough path he chose to see his people free. It is these lines like a tree’s roots that nourish and support the community towards progress and change.
A Tree Without Roots seeks to bring attention to our tendency to overlook our past while moving towards a future. In this technologically defined society, where one is able to create, erase and destroy with the click of a button we become dependent on a false reality to show and validate us in spite of what is already living inside. Our nourishment is in the roots of our community and the lines of our families that will lead us to a forever better today and tomorrow. Pick up a mirror and look inside to find your truth.
Tour Dates and Locations:
Feb 3 – 5th OfficeNJ 200 Centennial Ave Ste. 200 Piscataway, NJ 08854 (4-6pm) Feb 7 -16 Coffee Cave 45 Halsey Street Newark, NJ
Feb 21 Makedas Ethiopian Restaurant 338 George Street New Brunswick, NJ 08901 (6pm-11pm)
Feb 24 Warehouse Undisclosed Location (contact Shady for details)