Howard freshman, Jasmyn Marsh, was awarded the Certificate of Outstanding Artistic Achievement at the first Blackburn student art showcase. Hosted by the Chadwick Boseman College of Fine Arts Council in collaboration with the Howard University Student Association (HUSA), the showcase displayed pieces from Marsh’s “Sankofa” series, inspired by elements of Black culture, struggle and resilience.
The showcase was centered around the themes of resurgence, revival and rebirth. The goal was to provide a “creative outlet for students on campus” who wanted their artistic voices to be heard, celebrated and displayed.
“We hope that through this display of talent, Howard University will see the dedication, perseverance and excellence Jasmyn and her peers display daily in the newly reborn College of Fine Arts,” the Fine Arts Council told the audience at the showcase.
18 year-old Marsh rose to the occasion with the unveiling of her winning piece, in addition to displaying six other acrylic paint, ink and watercolor paintings in the Blackburn lobby.
The featured piece, according to Marsh’s description on Instagram, “…symbolizes the image of African American in media and certain roles. Instead of focusing on the negative image of [the] stereotypical side…I decided to show an African American director film an African American family, somewhat like The Cosby Show. The image in the center of the old camera plays irony to Normal Rockwell’s ‘Freedom from Want’.”
Marsh drew inspiration from common occurrences within Black life and history, while focusing on the beauty of Black art of various media. In her painting “Girl with the Watermelon”, she displayed racist subtleties, through the stereotypical depiction of a Black child eating a watermelon slice, a noose disguised as a jump rope and the ice cream truck- which often plays a historically outwardly racist jingle.
Marsh also depicted micro and macro aggressions, as well as examples of violence and harm inflicted upon Black people. Her work referenced victims like Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, while also addressing the smaller puzzle pieces of a violently anti-Black society, such as beauty standards.
Marsh’s appreciation for Black culture manifested itself in all of the work that she displayed at the showcase, from depicting musical impact to those of Black literary legends. Her painting, “Architecture,” features buildings built by slaves, as well as those designed by Black architects. This piece in particular, according to Marsh, was inspired by her best friend, who brought to her attention the approximately 0.3 percent of architects that are African-American women.
Marsh’s featured piece can be viewed live in a glass casing in Blackburn and her other pieces can be seen via her Instagram.
Calyn Coleman, the Fine Arts Council secretary, confirmed the Blackburn Student Art Showcase will be a recurring event, held monthly in the Blackburn Lobby, and open to entries from all students.
Copy edited by Lauryn Wilson