This Black History Month is filled with so much energy and epic moments that call for celebration. The culture is just bursting at the seams with palpable joy for the premiere of Black Panther and the unveiling of the presidential portrait. We are living in a historical moment and this week is just a #blacklituation.

Typically, during Black History Month the mainstream culture pays homage to the monumental work of civil rights heroes. And as a culture, we reflect upon slavery and how that has affected the consciousness of black people and the trauma that has ensued in contemporary times. But this Black History Month, in Wakanda, we have overcome.

  Source: Geekxchange

In the Marvel movie Black Panther, the casts transcend the stereotypical definition of Blackness which makes us identify with the Wakandas in this idealized world of freedom. This freedom allows us to explore the boundaries of Blackness, and to breathe the air of the complexity, ingenuity and non-conformity of being Black. The #blackgirlmagic and #blackboyjoy sweeping the nation easily and always transfers to the canvas of brilliant artists like Kehinde Wiley or Stina Aleah, a local South Florida artist. Wiley’s portrait of the 44th President and Stinah’s portraiture of the late Martin Luther King ooze with pride for the culture. President Obama graciously seated in the green lushness of success can be seen as the wildest dream of the late Dr. King. Both Wiley and Aleah’s work brings the contemporary identity to historical moments in Black culture. Stina Aleah’s MLK portraiture, entitled, “Moving Forward” and painted literally with her hands,  is on exhibit in honor of the 50th anniversary commemoration of the life of Dr. King at Joe Celestin Center at the City of North Miami on February 23rd, 6pm -9pm, Free with rsvp.     

                Stina Aleah: Moving Forward

This beautiful bubbling up of  blackness and identity inspired MUCE’s As a Matter of Black exhibition.  The jubilant uproar on social media following the unveiling of the presidential portrait by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald encompasses the essence of identity that As a Matter of Black explores. Kehinde and Amy “challenge[s] our conventional views of power and privilege” and offers a critical view of Black history and Black bodies.  Another thematically encompassing piece can be seen in the larger-than-life image entitled, The Portal by MUCE resident artist Isaie ‘Zeek’ Mathias. He offers an empowering lens to the Black male body,  disassociating his subject from the stereotypical views in the Western narrative. The back is strong and bare with trickles of sweat as he holds the drum- the tanbou- the portal of the ancestors and the future on his shoulder, never looking back, always moving forward. The portal is on exhibit at the Miramar Cultural Center now through March 30th and also features the female partner to this piece.

President Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley
Michelle Obama by Amy Sherald

The As A Matter of Black (AMOB) tour is specifically curated to challenge stereotypical assumptions and explores the figurative and literal definition of the word Black: as color, as identity, and as universal matter. Talented artists such as Tavares Hill’s Dreams shows a young black boy in whimsical flight on his red wagon, playful and innocent amidst the wiles of the world. See the full exhibition at Miramar Cultural Center which also features: Jacqueline Ashley, Jude Papaloko, Anthony Lumpkin, and Moise Dorcelin. The exhibit runs until March 30th.

    The Portal by Isaie ‘Zeek’ Mathias

MUCE invites you to show up, support and be a part of the sweet celebration of Black.

Taking photos? Tag us on social media @muce305 and share using #muce305 #asamatterofblack.

Current and Upcoming exhibitions: As A Matter of Black:

Miramar Cultural Center | 2400 Civic Center Pl | Miramar, FL

February 3rd – March 30th | M-F: 9am -5PM| Sat: 12pm – 5 pm Sun: Closed | Free to the public

Exhibiting Artists: Isaie ‘Zeek’ Mathias, Anthony Lumpkin, Katey Penner, Tavares Hill, Jude Thegenus Papaloko, Ms. Jackie’s Dolls

Joe Celestin Center | February 23rd | 7 pm – 10 pm (City of North Miami Evening of Honors) Address: 1525 NW 135th Street | RSVP required by Mon. Feb 19th

Exhibiting Artists: Belina Wright, Isaie ‘Zeek’Mathias, Katey Penner, Stina Aleah, Marvin Weeks, Robert McKnight, Bermy Dorvil