The Black Cultural Center presents the art of Shiloah Symone, a graduating University of Wisconsin senior whose portraiture of the Black body highlights pride and recognition in a Black History Month feature.
With weekly Black History Month events and speakers, February has been a busy time for the UW. This year’s theme is Afrofuturism, focusing on remembering the past as we live in the present and guide our future. It reflects a modernist perspective of African American life and how history has played a role in developing that.
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As part of the celebration, the Black Cultural Center features an artist in their gallery. Keeping Black modernism in mind with their choice, Symone’s art details the contemporary idea of the African American complexion.
A visual artist, Symone is from the south suburbs of Chicago. She’s currently in her last semester at the UW, studying Journalism, Studio Art and African Studies.
Symone’s primary method is three-dimensional portraits. Her pieces portray one or multiple African American people, amplifying the differences in their physical characteristics. One work on her Instagram shows a group with their faces tucked tightly together. Each has a different skin complexion that Symone shades with different tones of brown.
Most of her portraits start with a darker foundation which she then highlights to detail facial structure. This creates a beautiful array of cheekbones, jawlines, noses and brows in every work. Hair is unique and offers a texture that transcends the canvas.
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Overall, her paintings show solidarity in Black heritage. They have a contemporary style, but a timeless quality that seems to define any age. For the theme of Afrofuturism, it’s almost ideal.
You can find Symone’s work at the BCC’s gallery, which is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. While the BCC is currently closed due to plumbing problems, they should be open within the next few days.
Her work will be available to the public through the end of February, and if you miss it, you can always check out her Instagram, updated regularly for followers.
Be sure to check out Symone’s take on the African American image, and celebrate numerous other artists this Black History Month.