In a powerful but introspective exhibit, Trenton Artworks Workshop presents art pieces with a view to the history, myths and retelling of the peoples of sub-Sahara Africa, especially the women who accomplished great feats and contributed enormously to ancient cultures and nations. It opens in the main gallery on Saturday, February 1 at 11:00 a.m., and there will be a free Opening Reception at 6:00 p.m. on February 8. Curated by Raphael Ogoe, an architect and designer well-known to Trenton, the carefully selected and well-presented artwork comes to life and tells us much about the courageous, clever and creative Africans who ruled there in earlier times.

The year 2019 marked precisely 400 years since the first slave ship left the shores of Africa into the world of slavery through the transatlantic slave trade. Thus 2019 has been branded the “year of return” for the descendants of those Africans who were removed from their homeland.

“This exhibition will unite art, design and architectural practice to explore African history, culture, gender, masculinity, folktale, and discovery. Through the powerful use of composition and references to mythology and oral folktale, the exhibition will not only trace history but will retrofit past events for an epic retelling of some key moments in history in a modern futuristic setting.”

Black women have had a long history of being in charge and playing important social roles in the defense of Africa, and the show highlights some historical figures to illustrate this. The ancestors of black women were very willing participants. In some cases, these female ancestors even initiated battles. The exhibit draws on many inspirational stories from folktales, myths, and legends, documenting the many heroes whose lives are left uncelebrated.

Taken as a whole, the show deconstructs and merges ancient iconography and oral narratives about historical as well as mythical African persons. Artworks added, “These art pieces will use everyday imagery to develop a story often blurring the boundaries between traditional and contemporary modes of representation. They will also display the critical portrayal of masculinity, femininity, and the physicality of humanity. The exhibition will thread and weave some elements inspired by architecture, symbolism, textile patterns, and fabric making of sub-Sahara Africa.”

Artworks (19 Everett Alley) is located on Stockton Street between Front and Market Streets in the Mill Hill Historic District of Trenton, New Jersey.  It is walking distance from downtown restaurants, Passage Theater, the Trent House, and Sun Bank Arena. Artworks’ Everett Alley headquarters and gallery spaces are wheelchair accessible. Artworks is committed to making its programs and events accessible to all audiences. Ample free off street parking. Easily accessible from Routes 1, 129 & 29.

Gallery Hours (during exhibits): Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Late Hours: Thursday and Friday until 8 p.m.
Phone: 609-394-9436