“All That You Hold is Yours,” a new art exhibit featuring the work of artist Jamaal Barber, opened at Samford on Feb. 8, and will be on display through March 3.
Professor Lauren Evans, gallery coordinator at Samford, helped to install the show, and discussed some background on the new exhibit. Evans was not previously familiar with Barber’s work, but became aware of him as she was working with other faculty to put the 2021-2022 art schedule together a year and a half in advance. Geoff Sciacca, associate professor of Graphic Design, suggested Barber as an artist. Although he didn’t know Barber personally, he knew his work.
Sciacca, along with Assistant Professor Christian Dunn of Jacksonville State University, had organized and participated in a show back in 2020 called “The Dream Deferred,” which was installed at Samford for a time. Named after Langston Hughes’ famous poem, the exhibition featured screen prints from 31 artists made in response to the events following George Floyd’s murder earlier that year. When planning the event, Sciacca was interested in featuring Barber’s work, but it didn’t work out.
However, Sciacca still wanted to find a way to work with him somehow. That opportunity has now come with Barber’s solo show, which is his first solo show after completing his MFA.
Barber, a full-time artist based in Atlanta, recently completed his MFA in Printmaking at Georgia State University, after doing grad studies this past spring.
He is also the host of Studio Noize Podcast, which he started while in grad school. He does weekly episodes with contemporary Black artists, discussing their techniques, practices, and inspirations.
“All That You Hold is Yours” came out of Barber’s pandemic experience, and marks a shift in his work that came with it. He’d been working in printmaking and mixed media for years, and the new show features painting and bold color, both new elements to his work.
Like his previous work, the exhibit explores ideas relating to Black identity, including his own identity as a Black man and a Black artist. With this new work, Barber also sought a way to fully represent the breadth and depth of the Black experience.
The exhibit will wrap up next month with a closing reception and artist talk on March 3 from 4:30-6 p.m., as well as some possible additional programming the week before.
Those interested can see it now in the Samford Art Gallery and those who want to see more from Barber can follow him on Instagram at JBarberStudio, visit his site jbarberstudio.com, and listen to his Studio Noize Podcast.