The Art and Religion as Revolution

The Florida A&M University held its Art and Religion as Revolution event during the Artists in Bloom Festival week with a student panel discussing their views of how art and religion can create a revolutionary aspect at the new pharmacy building in the Blue Cross Blue Shield room on Tuesday, March 31 at 2 p.m.

Luther Wells, chairman of the Artists in Bloom Festival and associate director of theatre and performance welcomed students, faculty and staff to the festival and announced several events that were taking place during the festival’s week.

The purpose of the Artists in Bloom Festival is to celebrate the arts, promote literacy and healthy living.   

The panel consisted of three students: Candace Daymond, a senior english student from Tallahassee, Fla.; Matthew Gray Jr., a senior english student from Virginia Beach, Va.; and Ana Sanz, a senior fine arts student from Miami, Fla. They prepared a PowerPoint presentation of their views on how religion and spirituality were used in the arts.

Gray began his presentation with a song called “The Blacker The Berry,” by Kendrick Lamar. His presentation reflected several rap artists, such as Nasir Jones and J. Cole, that have spoken on racism, sexism and oppression that took place outside of America.

“Here at FAMU we are rooted in tradition right? By being cognizant of that is also a need for to be cognizant of the fact that it is tradition that times must and always do change.”

Dwinessa Pratt, a sophomore architecture student from the Bahamas, said she was inspired to come to the event because of her Art Appreciation class.

“This is one of the events that my professor wanted us to experience for the Artists in Bloom Festival week. They related art to religion and how the Europeanized side of religion is affecting black people today and that it’s oppressing us. I believe the panelists highlighted on a lot of good points,” Pratt said.

Each panelist discussed the arts and how counter narratives develop oppressive social structures such as classism, homophobia and other groups while incorporating their own beliefs and opinions.

Jasmine Cunningham, a senior history and international relations student from Leesburg, Fla., said she came to the event because she’s interested in philosophy and religion.

“What stuck with me the most is by Candace talking about going back to tradition and African religion because Christianity is a controlled system in my opinion. So, I think it’s really important for people to know that there are spiritual systems that are from Africa, not just Christianity as it’s been given to us,” Cunningham said.  

Artists in Bloom Festival fliers, with a detailed sequence of events occurring during the festival week, were handed to people as they took their seats.

“We invite you, your friends, family members, neighbors and anyone else to come out and enjoy all that we have to offer,” said Wells.

Kenya Strickland, an African-American studies student from Orlando, Fla., said she was interested in the lecture on Indian women and the issues of rape in the community.

“Prior to the presentation, I was not aware of it. So, you know, that was very interesting to me,” Strickland said.   

Zakiyah Muwwakkil, an assistant professor of religion at FAMU, was the moderator for the symposium and thanked the panelists for a thought provoking presentation.  

Art and Religion panel discussion was one of the many events held during FAMU’s annual Artists in Bloom Festival week.The event was free to the public and had an average attendance.