Multi-media artist Brian Ashing’s online exhibition Love, An Act of Hope explores themes of resilience and imbuing actions with radical love. The exhibition also explores the question of art in a post-pandemic world.
Ashing said he was inspired to create the exhibition when the inability to communicate with the art community and share art in person became a reality as non-essential businesses closed and social-distancing measures haltered large gatherings.
He said this made him consider other ways of getting his art to viewers while still trying to communicate the deeper meanings of the work without compromising the user experience.
He said he hopes the exhibition inspires other artists to consider the many exhibition options are available to them through the internet
“The visual language of the exhibit is mostly surreal and juxtaposes symbols of nature and humans to represent how we navigate and manipulate positive and negative energies. The exhibition is separated into three parts, each conveying an aspect of our relationship with love and how it plays a role in shaping our realities.”
The artist said creating these pieces during the pandemic brought home to him how artists contribute to narratives occurring in their environments through their art.
“In the future, people can look at the work created during the pandemic and get a snapshot of the states of mind that people are in now. Art has unfortunately been deemed non-essential, but it is art and culture that propels and unites humanity throughout time. It is how we document our history and form lasting identities. We need to be careful how we view artists’ roles in society.”
He said the anti-racism protests worldwide made him reflect on his experiences and what it means to be a black artist. “I think the black uprisings and unrest within the African diaspora come in waves, and we are simply living in the latest global outcry. Once we fully internalise the reality of the current state of our people and begin to think of the implications of centuries of injustice and violence enacted upon our ancestors, we begin to see our art as a conduit for change that must be carefully curated. I ask myself if I’m doing a disservice to my people if I don’t actively represent more black bodies and highlight black narratives within my art? Perhaps, simply being black means that anything I create, is, in fact, a representation of black narratives and issues. Or, perhaps, it is merely a reflection of centuries of learned oppression and psychological manipulation that has been executed through the many forms of racism. Simply put, black artists intrinsically have more/different pressures imposed upon us and we need to start to better understand and address the implications that such pressures have on the creative mind.”
The exhibition takes the form of graphite and watercolour, with accompanying videos to discuss the pieces and intentions of the exhibition. Ashing will release the first of four videos today.
To view the exhibition, go to www.brianashing.com.