Featured Photo by Elise Sandlin
Story by Elise Sandlin
Open to the public on Feb. 3, “The Body Electric” art exhibit has already drawn crowds of observers to admire its colors, vibrancy and representation of Native Culture. Leading artist Jeffrey Gibson, a decedent of Cherokee heritage and a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw, drew on multiple art forms creating this exhibit.
“The Body Electric” features murals, sculptures, and paintings all motivated by Gibson’s heritage, which speaks volumes for Indigenous empowerment. Traditional Cherokee and Choctaw garments were featured as creative sculptures in the exhibit, as well as drums, photographs and animals specific to his Indigenous heritage. His exhibit calls for equality, acceptance and freedom for all.
Gibson’s gallery has already inspired a large variety of admirers. Gallery attendee Caroline Louge, an aspiring artist herself, was drawn to the faces of photographed Indigenous hidden within his creative work.
“He’s Choctaw and Cherokee, so he draws a lot of inspiration from his culture and his family,” Louge said. “I’m drawn to the faces. He’s got these hidden faces within all these bright colors and textures. At first, I didn’t notice them, but then I found these, “Louge gestured to three vibrant paintings across from her with photographs woven into the colors.
She sat for hours in the gallery, studying Gibson’s paintings and patterning her own drawing after her favorites in his exhibit.
Ellen Pryor, Director of Communications at the Frist Art Museum, is an admirer of Gibson’s work as well.
“It’s just spectacular,” Pryor said, “It’s colorful. It’s exuberant. It’s thoughtful, thought-provoking, inspirational. You can take as deep a dive as you want to take and there’s something there for everyone. My hope is that people will take from this his message of love, inclusion and acceptance of all.”
Gibson made an appearance at Frist Art Museum the day before his art exhibit opened, where attendees could have an exclusive first look at his new creation. Gibson displayed his ancestors’ rich history in his moving works of art. Before his sneak-peak, Gibson discussed the long-running history and cultural inspiration behind his pieces.
Gibson’s “The Body Electric” will be displayed at the Frist Art Museum from Feb. 3 to April 23. To learn more, visit The Frist Museum’s website.
Elise Sandlin is a Culture and Entertainment Reporter for MTSU Sidelines.
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