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"May I Be Brave Enough to Speak My Truth" Review

Photo courtesy of Oz Arts

Filled with color and a cry for community, "May I Be Brave Enough to Speak My Truth" challenges the idea of what expression means to commonly misunderstood minorities.  


Nashville-based artist Shabazz Larkin, with his unique perspective, delves into themes of community and the delicate balance between celebration and pain in his collection "May I Be Brave Enough to Speak My Truth."  


The exhibit, displayed at the OZ Performing Arts Center, invites audiences to interpret black expressions through a diverse range of mediums, from woven textiles to intricate paintings.  


Larkins’ art, which not only showcases but sparks conversation about pressing issues plaguing groups of minorities around the nation.  


It brings together themes of community, outcry and what it means to be misunderstood in a world based on meaning. 


Curator Clarence Edward takes the artwork from a more extensive collection of Larkins's work at the Nashville Museum of Presence, a creative collective focusing on art made by people of color and influenced by the Southern diaspora. 


Through vibrant colors and typography that yearns for recognition, Larkin delves into the profound experience of feeling unseen, even amid an apparent effort to be heard. 


The woven portraits, a testament to the medium's power, depict various scenes, each showcasing a unique dynamic of support.  


Whether it is the bond between friends, siblings, or parents, the woven medium beautifully captures the visual connections and the deep-rooted interconnectedness that weaves a community together. 


At first glance, the paintings that filled the hall could be interpreted as scenes of pain and anguish. 


Only when looked at closer can one see what seems to be pain, which is, in fact, celebration and soulful cries. 


The rich colors tell a story themselves, showing the vast array of emotions, feelings, and nuance hiding behind the skin's color.  


"When perfect words are hard to find, beautiful sounds will do just fine," reads one of the paintings, cluing the audience into the true meaning behind the collection—the fine line between pain and pride. 


Showing until March 21st, Larkin's exhibit will be available to experience at the OZ Performing Arts Center. 


This article was written by Zach Watkins

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Sofa Blum
Sofa Blum
Mar 20

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