Mixed media exhibit at Mandeville celebrates Blackness

Publication Date

The works of mixed media painter Alisa Sikelianos-Carter, whose artistic depictions of traditional Black hairstyles have been called luminous, mystical and magical, are on view at the Mandeville Gallery through Jan. 9.

"Alisa Sikelianos-Carter: In the Eye of Belonging,” features 22 pieces that incorporate strands of Black hair in intricate shapes and patterns, intended as symbols of power, beauty and rebellion.

A painting called Afronauts and Ancestors

"Afronauts and Ancestors"

Taking hairstyles from web and catalog images, including braids, cornrows and twists, Sikelianos-Carter reimagines them to create “a mythology that is centered on Black resistance and uses the body as a site of alchemy and divinity.”

A reception with the artist is set for 5-6:30 p.m. Oct. 5. It is free and open to the public. Currently, all campus visitors are required to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

Sikelianos-Carter, who lives and works in upstate New York, graduated from the University at Albany with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in painting and drawing. She asserts that Black features are a manifestation of a sacred and divine technology that has served as a means of survival, both physically and metaphysically.

“I believe learning about and celebrating other cultures is an important part of being a good citizen in the world. Black people are wildly brilliant and beautiful, and we deserve to be celebrated every day,” she has said.

Sikelianos-Carter is a 2021 Foreland Studio Fellow and a 2020 Sustainable Arts Foundation grant recipient. She has been awarded residencies at such noted arts organizations as Fountainhead in Miami, NXTHVN in New Haven, Conn., the Vermont Studio Center, and New York state-based Millay Colony for the Arts, Wassaic Project and Yaddo.

Her recent exhibitions include group shows at the James Cohan, Kavi Gupta and Kristin Hjellegjerde galleries in New York City, Chicago and London, respectively, with an upcoming solo show at Fridman Gallery in Beacon, N.Y.

Located on the second floor of the Nott Memorial, the Mandeville Gallery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit the gallery website for more information.