Krystle Lemonias, a Jamaican-born artist who lives in Tampa, Florida, and is known for her use of mixed media, has won the $1,000 first prize at the 2021 Black Muse exhibition, a partnership between the Art Center Sarasota, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), founder of Black History Month, and the Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative. Lemonias’s prize-winning work includes “Portrait of the Present” and “Eeh, Hole Still.” These works celebrate the contributions of Black immigrant women to the culture of the United States.
According to Elizabeth Goodwill, the education director at Art Center Sarasota, it is difficult to find artists of African descent in art history books, which were written chiefly by white men of Western European descent. The 2021 Black Muse exhibition is designed to showcase the work of Florida artists of African descent and to inspire the next generation of aspiring artists. It will be presented virtually until March 5, 2021, at the website of each of its sponsoring organizations and features works in a variety of mediums emphasizing themes linked to Black identity and heritage.
The Black Muse second prize of $700 went to Jesse Clark, a Haitian-American fine art photographer who explores the way society perceives Black males. Coral Marshall, a painter who expresses her place in the world as an African and Native American, Musa Kunene who was born in Swaziland and uses Swazi/Xhosa ancestral worship as inspiration in her work, and Greg Rumph, a painter who examines historical Black figures who have aggressively fought systemic racism, received Honorable Mentions.