“Black in Black on Black: Making the Invisible Visible” is a visual conversation about the lives and contributions of Black/African American communities in Western North Carolina.
“Black in Black” was organized by the Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement (ABIPA) and partners, and will be on display through Jan. 7 in the John Cram Partner Gallery at the Center for Craft, 67 Broadway St.
Merging artwork and visual design by WNC-based artists Ann Miller Woodford, Ronda Birtha, Viola Spells and Reggie Tidwell, with social science data and stories, the exhibit invites audiences into an invisible history of the region.
“My emphasis has been on people who have dedicated their lives to humanity, but have been overlooked, ignored and often forgotten,” said Woodford.
Deeply personal art is integrated with charts and quotes from the Heart of Health: Race, Place, and Faith in Western North Carolina project.
Heart of Health is a three-year community-participatory research study that seeks to better understand the role and impact of race and racism on health through secondary data analyses and interviews. It is co-led by researchers from UNC Asheville, ABIPA, Sparrow Research and community partners from around WNC.
“One of our first findings was that much of the data on African Americans and drivers of health and inequities, for example, land and business ownership, have been suppressed due to small populations or other reasons. This collaborative research seeks to highlight and encourage responsible collection and use of data and stories,” said Ameena Batada, UNC Asheville professor of health and wellness and one of the co-leads on the Heart of Health project.
Visitors to the exhibit will experience a multisensory event composed of paintings, photographs, narrative text, graphics, sculpture, digital data and music. The exhibit also invites visitors to learn about the ways in which African Americans and others in WNC are working to reduce racism and build community through grassroots and organizational efforts.