Poetry and Art Fusion

Mannequin in Creole wear.

“Art should not only inspire but it should motivate and mobilize the future generation of artists to transcend the mundane into the extraordinary.” This is the message that Earlyn Joseph, artist and poet wishes to convey in “Poetry and Art Fusion” her first solo exhibit, which is currently being hosted by the Countee Cullen Library in Harlem.

This exhibit features across different segments of art. Joseph’s command of profound art evokes powerful emotions in the viewers. Each piece of art tells a compelling story, which flows smoothly from one selection to the next.

At the entrance of the gallery are seven drawings which provide vivid imagery for each carefully selected piece of poetry. The poems and drawings under the caption “Art in Motion” touches on aspects of humanity and nature. The drawings, which at first glance may seem simple to the naked eyes, take on a whole new meaning once linked to the poems bringing art into motion.

True to its namesake “Meditations,” this group of four poems, which lines the center wall of the gallery focuses on human emotions carefully laid out against a white background which adds to the drawing a sense of tranquility. The black border was purposely selected by the artist to convey the message of earthiness and being solidly grounded. The curvy edges of the black borders also signal a sense of fluidity and continuity as one edge flows into the other to create the seemingly four corners. The general order in which this particular segment is laid out exudes a mystifying energy all on its own.

Moving deeper into the gallery, the show stopper is that of the artist’s surprising use of fabric to display art which is showcased with six Muppets and two mannequins highlighting the theme of “Artistic Creation.” The Muppets, which were all handmade by the artist are donned in Afro-centric wear. Likewise, the mannequins are donned in Afro-centric wear. The artist use of colorful madras prints depict a sense of exuberance. This is probably the most memorable aspect of the exhibit, which also clearly tells of the artist’s strong Afro-Caribbean and European heritage’s influence on the artwork. This aspect of the exhibit is likely the first of its kind seen in an art exhibit.

On a more boisterous level, eight paintings line the end wall in the gallery. A mix of charcoal paintings and acrylics on 10 x 15 paper portraits which have been framed and canvas are used by the artist in this selection. This selection compiles intensity and serenity. The charcoal painting of “Stop the madness” depicting an accident scene and an acrylic painting of “Hurricane Sandy” evokes raw emotions. The artist then transports us into the world of color utilizing shades of green and brown in the garden portrait of “rendezvous,” which comprises of two black chairs on a green lawn, a black painted table and two gold glasses creating a beautiful garden scene with trees in the background. This piece suggests the work of a self-taught artist. There is also a memorable painting on canvas depicting the disco days “soul train.” To take the artwork further the artist hand crafted wooden stained labels for each piece of art in this section.

The ability of the artist to merge different aspects of art to create a remarkable story is noteworthy. The order used in laying out the selections and each piece of art is striking, bringing forth vivid imagery. The equidistance of white walls between paintings helps heighten the feeling of tranquility.

This first exhibit has produced compelling works, which suggest that of an artist who stands true to the message she conveys in her intent on producing art that would motivate and mobilize others to transcend art to an extraordinary level.

Earlyn Joseph is the holder of a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology (Hons) from Cameron University, Ok, and a master’s degree from The City College of New York. This self-taught artist is also a poet and writer.

Some of Earlyn Joseph’s paintings on display at the Countee Cullen Library in Harlem.
Photo by Earlyn Joseph

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