Creative Black minds have always introduced (and perfected) content that others either mimic or abuse for their own benefit. From music to sports, food and even spirits (Egyptians first documented the brewing process… look it up), Black folks are easily the most influential people on the planet and art is no different.
The month-long exhibit (May 15-June 15), “A Black Artist in a White World,” spearheaded by publicity guru Nickie Robinson and presented in part by rolling out, speaks to the aforementioned brilliance. It also offers a virtual presentation featuring artists among the likes of Abi Salami, Ronnie Rob, Bianca Batlle Nguema, Tigner Rand, Bernard W. Brooks, Gwendolyn Aqui-Brooks, and Michelle Johnson Lee.
Creating an exhibit dedicated to art, virtual or not, was actually born from frustration. Robinson, who owns and operates GoodGirlPR Public Relations, originally set out to be a lawyer upon graduating from the University of Denver. She was on a fast track to realizing that goal while working at Merril Lynch in the compliance department. After being an Assistant Vice President at Deutsche Bank (2008), she finally broke free from Wall Street to go full board with her own publicity firm — GoodGirlPR.
Through various relationships, Robinson earned the trust of several artists who she placed in mainstream magazines… and then came the drama.
“I started doing PR for a large art collection in Germany, and did a great job, but always feeling like, I could never I was never good enough,” she remembers. “They would always compare me to my White colleagues … how dope they were, how they got such did such a great job. [But] their work product was always subpar. I would always produce better work in this art world that I didn’t have any experience in.”
The disrespect continued into 2020 while Robinson was working on an art exhibit in response to the Minnesota riots.
“One of the curators of this art collection told me that Black artists were technically not as good as White artists — that we lacked literacy skills — that we come from single-parent homes,” she discloses, “and that somehow influences our ability to be great artists.”
Understandably upset, Robinson didn’t articulate her annoyance in the moment. Instead, she devised a plan to curate “A Black Artis In a White World,” then promptly told the Germany exhibit owner that his rep inspired her brilliance.
“That’s where this exhibit came from — my anger — that he had the nerve to say that to me,” she explains, “as if I was some Uncle Tom, by virtue of me going to law school and being educated, that somehow I was going to jump on the bandwagon while he was saying these things to me.
“I told them, this is why I did it. You should never say that a Black artist [is] not technically as good as White artists. Historically, our ideas have been used and … then we’re not given the credit. It happens all the time.”
With Robinson’s help, that trend will hopefully cease to exist.
Catch the virtual exhibit here: https://artspaces.kunstmatrix.com/en/node/6419359
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