During Harlem Week 2010, Spirit in Sunset Productions will present free and open to the public, a photography exhibition celebrating the African American Experience entitled “Beautiful, Also, are the Souls of My People,” as well as a series of literary events that accompany the exhibit. “Beautiful, Also, are the Souls of My People,” a poetic collection of photographs in collage was created by award-winning photographer and poet, Nikki Williams. The exhibit, as well as the literary programs, will be held in Weston United’s Gallery M, located at 123 West 135th Street between Seventh and Lenox Avenue in Harlem. The exhibition which opens on Monday, July 17, 2010 and runs through September 3, 2010 will be held in conjunction with three major literary programs taking place during Harlem Week. On Saturday, August 7th from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, there will be a poetry reading, book signing and discussion with today’s leading Black Male Poets, “The Darker Brother: Black Men on Poetry, Prose and Politics.” The authors who will be part of the program are C.D. Grant, Gary Johnston, Layding Kaliba, David Mills and Tony Mitchelson. On Sunday, August 15th, from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Nikki Williams, who also serves as the producer of the literary events, will present an Artist Talk through a Conversation-in- Performance, recounting her life as an Artist and her experiences growing up in Harlem during the 1960’s. The series will culminate on Sunday, August 29th from 3:00 to 6:00 pm with an historic, first time, Poethon celebrating Harlem Renaissance Poet Langston Hughes entitled “Living, Loving, Laughing, Langston.” Those participating in what Williams calls a “Langstonathon,” will be the African American literary and theatrical community. In marathon fashion, each participant will recite a poem from the vast collection of works written by Mr. Hughes.
“Beautiful, Also, are the Souls of My People,” is described as a Collage of Photographs and Poetry that celebrates the beauty and uniqueness of the African American experience is a touring exhibit. It had its
inaugural presentation this past February at Columbia University, has traveled to South Brunswick, New Jersey and is currently at the Madeline Gutman Gallery in the Town of Greenburgh, New York. After its showing at Gallery M, the exhibition will return to Harlem from November 1st to January 10, 2011 and be displayed in the Gallery of the Countee Cullen Library before it leaves New York again in 2011.
Williams is an award-winning photographer and writer who has been producing cultural events in Harlem as well as various parts of the country for over twenty years. She has this to say about her newest and rapidly growing body of work: “I am a jazz musician. A jazz musician who uses the visual and literary arts to create music. A cultural clergywoman presiding over the sacred ceremony that unites two of my passions: creating art that celebrates the improvisational beauty of African American culture and the stunning beauty found in Nature. I am marveled by the genius of jazz – how its rhythms and freedom, flow and change, resilience and resistance is found in the people who created it and how these very qualities are also found in the Intelligence of Nature. Despite the African Holocaust and its Middle Passage, what poet and author, Dr. Maya Angelou calls “Our Certain Way of Being,” managed to house itself in our cell’s rememories. It is found in: the piano-like stride of the dapper dude whose debonair style is jazz music itself; it is weaved and woven between the colorful twists and turns of dread-locked hair and is Sunday sung by resilient African American elders, whose faith is etched along the creases of their timeless faces – a testament to the rivers they’ve known. African American Poet Langston Hughes, heard this same literary music when he wrote: “The night is beautiful, so the faces of my people…” In his now famous poem, “My People,” Langston Hughes captured the rich beauty and heritage that is particular and unique to the African experience in America. Like Langston Hughes, I, too, compare African Americans to that which is forever beautiful. And so, I present to you, “Beautiful, Also, are the Souls of My People,” a photographic collage using the beauty of Nature as a backdrop to celebrate the people that Langston Hughes and I so love.”
Gallery M is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12 pm to 6pm and Thursday from 1 to 8pm. All events are free and open to the public. Contact (212) 368-3571 or (212) 234-4106 for more information. Gallery M is accessible by taking the #2, #3, or “C” or “B” trains to 135th Street.