Pérez Art Museum Miami celebrates art and soul

The Pérez Art Museum hosted its ninth annual Art + Soul celebration, which has become Miami’s most anticipated fundraising event for cultural workers, art lovers and philanthropists. The program recently changed title from Fund for African American Art to Fund for Black Art, to include African Diaspora, Latin American and Caribbean artists beyond the United States. The Black Art Fund Ambassador Program at PAMM has raised over $1 million this year, including a fundraising match by the Knight Foundation.

The dinner opened with remarks from director Franklin Sirmans and journalist Neki Mohan. The presentation reflected the art that goes into every type of industry, including Art + Soul winner David Alan Grier who is a veteran actor, activist, comedian and art collector, as well as chef Alexander Smalls who offered his dinner menu with recipes adapted from his latest book, Meals, Music and Muses. Director Franklin Sirmans then graced us with the acquisition reveal and brought artists Calida Rawles and Dawoud Bey to the stage. Three new works of art have been added to PAMM’s permanent collection that reflect the trauma and history of Black people in the United States.

Daoud Bey, Hut and palm trees2019. Perez Art Museum Miami Collection, Museum Purchase with Funds by Jorge M. Perez, The John S. And James L. Knight Foundation, and PAMM Ambassadors for Black Art Copyright Dawoud Bey, Courtesy Sean Kelly, New York.

“I would like to thank everyone involved in acquiring my work. It’s a really gratifying moment for me, especially not that one piece enters the collection, but that two of my recent works enter this museum,” says Dawoud Bey, one of the artists whose work has been acquired. “For 10 years, I’ve done work that looks at and seems to bring into contemporary conversation aspects of African-American history. I try to use history in a way that allows us first to engage in an act of remembering so that our history is not forgotten, and second to bring it into meaningful conversation in our time. because the past is never the past. The past is always present. How to visualize the past? How do you make something that has already happened work?

Calida Rawles, On the other side of it all2021. Perez Art Museum Miami Collection, Museum purchase with funds from Jorge M. Perez, John S. And James L. Knight Foundation, and PAMM Ambassadors for Black Art.

“I am so honored to be here and to celebrate black art, and to have my painting, On the other side of it all, as part of the Perez Museum of Art and its collection. Although I painted it last year, it seems much longer,” says artist Calida Rawles. “I knew I wanted to focus on black men. When I thought about what I wanted to express, I kept coming back to the obvious: I’m not a black man, nor do I understand what it means or what it feels like to be a black man, then I thought, ‘What if I start from there?’ This mystery of not knowing someone completely, only seeing parts of them. Isn’t that the beauty of the human experience? I believe that’s where the journey of compassion begins. I feel so blessed to have such beautiful sweet strong black men in my life and when I see a black man walking down the street I can’t help but remember a friend or a cousin my son, my father my brother, my love husband. The beauty of black men and the love and the little touch of mystery is what’s in my painting, what I tried to capture.”

During the dessert, directors Kimberly Marshall and Dorothy Terrell led a series of pledges. More guests arrived for the celebration featuring DJ Pam Jones and Deep Fried Funk. The outdoor terrace was filled with black joy and danced until the wee hours of the night.

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Reggie S. Williams