NCAT Empowers women in art with “Girl Power! Female Depictions in Art” 

Daniel Ward, Contributor

Highlighting the strength in femininity, the University Galleries at N.C. A&T hosts the exhibition, “Girl Power! Female Depictions in Art.” Consisting of various pieces from the University’s permanent collection, the exhibit aims to acknowledge the power and strength of women as an art form. 

“The purpose of “Girl Power” is to show the strength of the female through an artistic lens,” said Paul Baker, Ph D., Director of the University Galleries. 

He describes the importance of the exhibit depicting the diversity of women and girls in art and just as well, the diversity in the permanent collection of N.C. A&T.

“Rosa” Painted by Bryan Collier

The exhibit features 15 works by a variety of artists, including Romeare Bearden, John Biggers and Hale Woodruff. Each work highlights women and girls in art while telling its own story.

“For example, the painting in the exhibition entitled “Rosa” by Bryan Collier shows the quiet power Rosa Parks had the moment she refused to give up her seat,” Baker said. “The provenance is also interesting…the artist traveled to meet Ms. Parks for her approval of the painting.” 

Varnette Honeywood’s “Gossip in the Sanctuary” is another piece in the exhibit that Baker thoroughly enjoys. 

“The painting has vibrant colors and exaggerated figures that draws the viewer in.” Baker said. 

The vibrant and colorful piece is most known for its feature on “The Cosby Show” hanging in the kitchen of the Huxtables’ home.

“Gossip in the Church” Painted by Varnette Honeywood

Students are also enjoying the exhibit. Samiya Hocutt, junior Kinesiology student, is inspired by the imagery and storytelling behind each piece.

“There is a lot of versatility in terms of the complexity of the pieces,” Hocutt said. “They can be simple but tell such a deep story that isn’t always what you see on the canvas.”

Baker hopes that the gallery will invoke not only a sense of pride in women, but also connect to the women that came before them.

 “Visitors who come in say that they feel a sense of pride and also are able to connect their own life experiences with at least one work of art in the exhibit,” Baker said.

By depicting strong women in the works on display, the hope is to accomplish a goal of attendees taking away a sense of confidence in womanhood, regardless of gender or sex. He also hopes that it will highlight the vast variety of works in the collection of the University Galleries. 

“We have over 6,000 pieces related to the African and African American experiences,” Baker said. “Renowned artists such as Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden and Alma Thomas are all represented in the collection.”  

The University Galleries is featuring this exhibit inside of the H.C. Taylor Gallery through the third week of March. It is free and open to the public Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. inside the Dudley building.