As part of Black History Month, the photographic works of Anthony Barboza are on display in the Kinetic Gallery in the College Union, in conjunction with a reading by the English department faculty that took place on Feb. 10.
"Souls of Black Genius: Images of Sounds and Vision" is a combination of experimental and commercial photographs, created using both digital color and silver gelatin. Barboza, who started his career as a photographer for his navel base's newspaper, has captured personalities ranging from artist Norman Lewis to writer Wole Soyinka to rapper Mos Def.
As stated in Barboza's September 2009 press release, "Returning to New York [after leaving the Navy, Barboza] knocked on doors and broke barriers until he became a recognized international photographer and his images appeared on magazine and album covers and in fashionable journals." These publications included Harper's Bazaar, Essence, Esquire and Rolling Stone. After 30 years of developing his skills and techniques, Barboza began experimenting and reaching out in his own directions.
The photographs on display tell stories. Some are candid and others posed, but they are all full of emotion. In Barboza's press release it states, "As he highlights supple, subtle light paths and meanderings, the photos result in a magical combination of shape, composition, subtle light paths and movement not unlike dance or dancing in rhythmical light."
Complementing the artwork was the English department's reading, which featured work from authors Jamaica Kincaid, Derek Walcott, August Wilson and Ntozake Shange.
As professor Tom Greenfield explained, it is ironic that Wilson is the "most successful black playwright in history" because his writing was against this very idea. Wilson also opposed "color-blind casting" and said, "I believe that race matters … Black theater in America is alive. It is vibrant."
Professor Beth McCoy read from Kincaid's "A Small Place," a piece about tourism and Antigua, Kincaid's birthplace. It is written in second person, perhaps in a slightly accusatory but effective tone, and is undoubtedly clever, humorous and eye opening. A digital color photograph of Kincaid is on display in Barboza's exhibit.
Walcott, who Barboza captures in a silver gelatin photograph, wrote in a more traditional and somber style, professor Graham Drake explained. Walcott is both a playwright and a poet who borrows heavily from Greek mythology.
Professor Kristen Gentry read from Shange's "For Colored Girls That Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf," her most famous work and one of personal significance to Gentry. "For Colored Girls" is a play in the form of poetry, called a choreopoem, and is performed by seven women described only by the color they are wearing. Each woman has a story to tell, most of which deal with gender and racial issues.
"Souls of Black Genius: Images of Sounds and Vision" is on display until March 3. The Kinetic Gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. until midnight, Fridays from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. until midnight and Sundays from 12 p.m. to midnight.