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Artwork from the Diversity Art Showcase

March 15, 2016

One of the best parts of the AFP International Fundraising Conference is the Diversity Art Showcase, which has been supported for 17 years by The Alford Group. The showcase features artwork by AFP members and others expressing what diversity, inclusion and philanthropy mean to them.

2016 Diversity Art Showcase professional artwork

This year, the showcase (at Booth 335 of the conference) features works by Boston-based professional artist Cagen Luse (above). His art focuses on the role of African Americans and people of color (POC) in the development and building of the United States, a role that is often very much underrepresented in history lessons and mass media.

Through his Americana Noir series, Luse found images of everyday Americans and infused them with my own aesthetic. And in his new series, he is taking well known (and not-so well known) American images from the near and distant past and re- imagining them with a new view: reinserting people of color.

And as always, the showcase features the work of local students. This year, the Boston Chapter worked with Jeremiah E Burke High School located in Dorchester. Below are the three winning pieces of artwork, along with a description of what each work meant to the student.

2016 Diversity Art Showcase 3rd

Gabriela Vieira (3rd place - above)

My art is about my old house in Cape Verde where I grew up. My old house inspired me to do this project because a house is something that is extremely important for every human being. It provides warmth, shelter, a place for a family to be together, and safety.  My art tell the viewers about me in that it is important to me to have a place where I can be free to explore.  When I was working on the tree house project, I thought about other people who don’t have homes. This is why my tree house has two parts to it. One is for me, and the other could be for someone else who needs a home. This is how my project addresses the idea of philanthropy. While I was working on my tree house, I learned how to be patient and how to express ideas I have in my mind. The most important thing about my tree house is that I love the way it came out – the two separate parts, the colors, the fence which made it look cure and also protected, and the details that gave it personality.

2016 Diversity Art Showcase 2nd

Milton Harris (2nd place)

This is my art: a self-portrait of me drawn in charcoal. I wanted to become a better artist and I would always draw my art in pencil, but charcoal would be something new for me. I really became a good artist once I began doing charcoal. What influenced my art was my art teacher, Ms. Rodny.  I would ask her for new art projects that will help me become a better artist, so that’s when the charcoal portraits came into play. What I like about my art is I made myself look pretty dope and I worked hard on my piece. The value of the portrait is limitless in that this portrait you see nothing but value and that’s something I think is really important because it has so many meanings. The fact that my drawing is a self-portrait is an exercise in value as an artistic technique, but also has meaning in the value I assign to myself as an artist and as a human. I love the symbolism behind my art, and how many ideas the viewers might have when looking at it.

2016 Diversity Art Showcase 1st

Edwina Liz (1st place)

My art is a map representing an imaginary space of my journey. I made it using watercolor and black ink. My map conveys the idea that all structures in the world are interconnected. I also wanted to express how we proceed from not knowing how to make something to working together, creating multiple pieces and figuring it out. One of the examples is the Eiffel tower. When you look at the process of it being built, it took many steps and many people putting lots of different parts together. This idea of working together and contributing small amounts to create a greater good is something that resonates strongly with my work. I also used bright colors to demonstrate hope and a feeling of accomplishment. The open space in my map represents the potential for new ideas and new structures yet to be built.  I was inspired by my desire to travel and become an architect and help build structures that will bring good to the world

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