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The Voice of the Black Community

Arts and Entertainment

Street art demonstrations develops for young voices
Ricky Singh at Harvey B. Gantt Center
 
Published Saturday, April 10, 2021 6:00 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

PHOTO | ASHLEY MAHONEY
Street artist Ricky Singh will lead a free demonstration April 17 at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture.

Ricky Singh challenges you to rethink space and engage with community.


The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture will host a free street art demonstration with Singh, a local artist and head of school at Charlotte Lab Upper School, on April 17 from 1-3 p.m. at the Gantt’s front door. Singh will demonstrate a spray-painted triptych piece while providing context around his artistic process and materials as well as his works around the city and art as activism. His piece will focus on the voices of Charlotte youth.


“It will be three panels, and I am still trying to think through what I want to do with the final product,” Singh said. “My hope is that it summarizes this year for youth. It is through anecdotals from them. What I want to do is be a vehicle for them and not speak for them. I think that is the key, because I am on the front line [as an educator] and it is a little bit easier for me to hear and know what it has felt like and what it continues to feel like.”


Providing an open outdoor atmosphere removes barriers sometimes associated with cultural institutions.


“The open air takes away the stuffiness,” Singh said. “That is part of it. Museums often have this reputation of, ‘don’t step over the line. Don’t touch that.’ What this does is take away the barriers that are sometimes society puts on galleries. The Gantt has done a great job and the Mint Museum, of even just rethinking the art that is in those museums. We all saw the success of Carla [Aaron-Lopez]’s exhibit ‘LOCAL/STREET’ with Charlotte is Creative at the Mint Museum Randolph, where you have 50-plus local artists. It is the constant pivot of rethinking space and how better to use it.”


Singh’s work can be seen throughout the city, whether as the magician behind the curtain making things happen, or as the artist whose work is on display. He collaborated with other community leaders in Historic West End to create the Beatties Ford Strong campaign, which honored Jamaa Cassell, Christopher Gleaton, Kelly Miller and Dairyon Stevenson through a series of murals and community collaborations. Cassell, Gleaton, Miller and Stevenson were killed in a mass shooting at the intersection of Catherine Simmons Avenue and Beatties Ford Road on June 22, 2020. Ten others were injured.


The mural series includes “Beatties Ford Strong” on Niki’s Food Shop (2200 Beatties Ford Road), “West End” at 2020 Beatties Ford Road, “Unify” at Kiplin Automotive Group (3515 Brookshire Blvd), “This Too Shall Pass” at West End Fresh Seafood Market (2206 Beatties Ford Rd) and the “Sankofa” mural at Queens Mini Mart (2120 Beatties Ford Road).


“This Too Shall Pass” was also a collaboration with Charlotte is Creative through the #CountOnMeCLT initiative to promote COVID-19 precautions, like maintaining physical distance, wearing a mask and washing your hands. Each mural is designed to honor the deceased, while also preserving the history of Charlotte’s West End. Singh also created the Carlos Santana mural in January with Historic West End Partners and the NoDa Neighborhood and Business Association at the former A&P grocery store on West Trade Street’s 1600 block.


On the Net:
www.ganttcenter.org/calendar/street-art-demonstration-with-ricky-singh

 

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