Foster Tanner takes us back in time with art

Earl Washington was one of the featured artist at the event. Photo by Ivy Gray

On Thursday, Feb. 27, the Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University Foster Tanner Fine Arts Gallery kicked off its on-going art exhibition, Voices of FAMU. The exhibition featured over 20 different art pieces, created by FAMU’s Fine Arts Alumni.

Voices of FAMU was the collection of 6 decades of artwork starting from the 1960s to present. Harris Wiltsher is currently the associate professor and director of the show.

“The idea came about more than 10 years ago. The goal was to present a show that would allow for the FAMU and Tallahassee community to witness and see the type of talent that has come through FAMU over 60 years,” said Wiltsher.

The artwork showcased creative pieces expressing fashion, politics, and many more.

A piece titled “Broken by the Burden of My…”. by Carton Omar Thompson (alumni 1978), displayed a masterpiece of stereotypes that are projected upon African Americans. It exhibited a wide variety of stigmas including watermelons, black-face, and cotton.

Amiya Abner, a first-year broadcast journalism student, expressed just how strongly she connected to the art.

“The emotions I felt from the art exhibition are very strong. I felt powerful and happy. It definitely made me feel great to be a rattler. This event allows you to see a lot of the alumni and great student artists. I really enjoyed it,” said Abner.

Halimah Winn, a fourth year student here at FAMU, explained how her favorite pieces made her feel.

“The piece made me think of how time just keeps going on. The woman in the art piece is tired of the system, and as a black woman she seems exhausted,” Winn said. “I really like how the artist put the details of her freckles, and the redness around her eyes. What is really interesting is the background. If she didn’t have so many commitments, she could enjoy the peacefulness. She is trying to get joy where there is a lack of it.”

Featured artist, Kenneth Falana and graduate of FAMU during the 1960s, gave the history and inspiration behind his piece, “Falling Water.”

“It’s an environmental piece. It’s about climate change, both man made and natural changes in climate. It’s about the political situation also. We had an unstable white house at the time. The red in the piece represents destruction. In all it was inspired from current events,” said Falana.

As the event ended, Wiltsher expressed his joy of the outcome of the event through a speech and his appreciation for those who were there to support. He encouraged the audience to come again and bring a friend.

While the art department is accepting donations, the exhibition is free and open to the public from until Apr. 5, 2020.