Aaqil Ka — “Mom Mae’s Economy”
Deptford Twp. – Eight illustrious artists will bring their distinctive, elegant works to Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC) in celebration of Black History Month on Saturday, Jan. 30 from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Dr. Ross Beitzel Art Gallery.
Artists Mary Bridges, Tiffany “Raqui” Raquel Chamberlain, Brandon Collier, Keath Gerald, Diane Gordon, H. Alonzo Jennings, Aaqil Ka and James T. Williams will proudly display their collection of quilts, paintings, photography and mixed media thanks in part to the South Jersey Chapter of LINKS – a Philadelphia-based non-profit organization that has sprouted more than 250 chapters aimed to help communities with civic and cultural education since 1946.
Inspired by the creativity displayed in a quilt handmade by her grandmother, Bridges took her first quitting class in 1998. Eighteen years later, her passion for quilting fuels a desire to continue honing her skill and enlightening others on the art of her rewarding hobby.
Born in Tokyo, Chamberlain is a contemporary artist specializing in acrylic and oil paintings. The 2013 Rowan University graduate defines art as “the process of your unique purpose being perfected to reach the lives of others” and hopes that her art will one day impact the lives of another.
Collier, a native of Texas, studied art at the University of North Texas and has worked in both the traditional and digital media industry. His current passion is on-stage painting. “I am intrigued by how art can stimulate social change and how people view themselves and their relationships in a way that is not limited by time, culture and geography,” said Collier.
Gerald’s love for painting unfolded when the diagnosis of a life threatening heart condition forced him to reevaluate his life’s purpose. It was during a leave of absence from school that he discovered painting and “with every brush stroke, his interest turned to enjoyment and enjoyment became love.”
Gordon’s passion for photography was ignited when she saw a winter Hawaiian sunrise and captured it with her camera, awakening her sensitivity to the beauty of God’s creation. The chief of staff at St. Matthew’s Baptist Church in Williamstown is a photographer, inspirational speaker and blogger.
Jennings, a retired teacher and jazz aficionado from Paterson, began exploring photography in the mid-1960s and eventually earned a veritable reputation as one of the nation’s premiere jazz photographers. He’s also an established poet, producing several volumes of published works. His “objective as an artist/photographer/poet is to provide a visual/poetic record of the sublime moments of transcendence where his subject, animate or inanimate, touches or is touched by the spirit and is elevated.”
Art has always been the catalyst for most activities Ka was involved in while growing up in Memphis, from learning to activism. In addition to studying language and anthropology at college, he also attended art school. Delving into the interdisciplinary nature of art, Ka intentionally infuses historical occurrences, social movements and philosophical ideologies into his paintings and other artwork.
Williams’ appreciation of art began with sketching as a child and carried into adulthood, where as a dental technician in the Navy an officer saw one of his drawings and gave him his first set of oil painting materials. After leaving the Navy, he was diagnosed with diabetes induced glaucoma, which left him legally blind. Thanks to numerous medical procedures, he has retained enough of his vision to allow him to continue to enjoy his cherished hobby.
The show will run until March 4 in the Art Gallery located in the College Center. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 856-415-2122.
Rowan College at Gloucester County is located at 1400 Tanyard Road in Deptford, just off Exit 56 of Route 55.