by Donald Munro
February 1, 2024
What better way to celebrate the beginning of Black History Month than with a themed art exhibition?
That’s the philosophy of Tyler Alce, a member of Scarab Creative Arts, a Fresno State student and a working artist. She organized and is participating in “Down With the Clique,” which marks Black History Month. It’s one of the highlights of Fresno ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods (5-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, at most venues). For more details on times and venues, go to the Fresno Arts Council’s website.
I caught up with a very busy Alce (happy birthday to her husband, by the way) to ask a few questions about the show.
Q: How many artists are you featuring?
The show features a total of 19 Black creatives, including 16 Black visual artists presenting a diverse array of mediums such as sculpture, illustration, graphic design, painting, and ceramics. Additionally, the remaining 3 artists specialize in performance arts, including a DJ, spoken word artist, and an Afrikan Djembe (African drummer).
Q: Can you talk a little about the title of the show?
The primary objective of this show is to promote and recognize Black brilliance. I firmly believe that art has the power to inspire, educate and bring people together.
Q: Can you tell me just a little about your own art and what you’re bringing to this show?
I am a Fresno State senior studying ceramics and my artistry explores the beautiful and complex facets of Black culture, revealing aspects of history that have shaped the past, that are shaping the present, and that will shape the future. I use form and function in my figurative and conceptual designs that challenge viewers to engage with and reflect on narratives present in today’s society.
Q: Is there one work in the show that you could talk about in a little detail?
A: “ESSENCE” (pictured above) is a sculpture I made in Fall of 2023 at Fresno State. This figurative piece is a powerful representation of Black womanhood, encouraging a shift from external appearances to inner qualities. She is a testament to Black identity and the nuanced complexities of personal narratives within the context of beauty standards and cultural significance.
Q: Have you ever celebrated Black History Month this way before?
A: While this is the first time we are celebrating Black History Month with a dedicated art exhibition filled with Black art, I am encouraged to establish a tradition that highlights and honors the contributions of Black artists within our community.
Q: Why do you think this show is important?
A: Because it provides a platform for Black artists to showcase their talents and contributions. It is more than just a display of art; it’s a celebration of resilience and brilliance within the Black community.