Exhibit features students’ artwork

BY AMANDA NORELL Staff Reporter Purdue Exponent
Although February is over, the spirit of Black History Month is still alive in the “New Visions: Emerging African-American Women Artists” exhibit, where the work of two Purdue students’ is on display.

A part of the “Parallel Narratives” exhibit at the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette, the show features the art of graduate student LaToya Hobbs and undergraduate Channie Jones.

Hobbs, a first-year master of fine arts candidate in painting and printmaking, uses African-American women as subjects in her work, focusing on their natural beauty.
“My work focuses on beauty and identity,” Hobbs said. “My objective is to show these women as strong and beautiful.”

Incorporating elements of natural beauty, such as the natural hair theme that can be seen in many of her pieces, Hobbs displays an alternative view to the one-dimensional perception of beauty that is prominent in society.

“I don’t want beauty to be skewed,” she said.
All of the subjects in Hobbs’ work are women she knows. She even met one of the women whom she features in Walmart, saying she found this woman so beautiful she had to ask her to model.
Jones also has her work on display at the museum, and will graduate from Purdue in May with an Honors bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts Education.

Jones presents work in several different mediums and, much like Hobbs, employs themes of female empowerment and African-American culture in her work.

“My featured works of drawings, prints, and sculptures collectively represent my experiences as an African-American young woman and other influential African-American women in my life,” Jones said. “The figures in my artwork embody my personal principles of having pride in my culture, conveying inner strength, having hope in times of trouble, and gaining wisdom from my past.”

Jones further emphasizes the importance of these themes in her artist’s statement.

“The concept of my artwork reflects feminine empowerment and cultural identity within modern society. My artwork is my voice from which pride and femininity resonate.”

The “New Visions” exhibit is one that Hobbs thinks is necessary for a community with a lack of African-American art, and encourages people to visit and experience the exhibit firsthand.

“Judging by the reaction of people at the opening, the community was excited to see the quality of art there,” she said. “It showcases the talent here at Purdue.”
Jones said that the exhibit is a way for people to become familiar with a subject about which they may know little.
“If you ever get an opportunity to educate yourself with the unfamiliar or broaden your understanding of a concept it will always be a (worthwhile) experience.”

The exhibit will run through March 19 at the Greater Lafayette Museum of Art in Lafayette. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.