“MASTER NARRATIVE IS LIKE THE ALL-ENCOMPASSING AMERICAN NARRATIVE THAT HAS BEEN A VERY WHITE PERSPECTIVE OF HISTORY,” THE ARTIST SAYS. “SO, I’M TAKING THAT AND ADDING IN OUR PERSPECTIVE.”
BY OKLA JONES ·
On August 18, Afro-Cuban artist Harmonia Rosales opened her Master Narrative exhibition in Atlanta. Held at the iconic Spelman Museum of Fine Art, her work connects the stories and characters of the Yorùbá religion, Greco-Roman mythology, and Christianity with the artistic techniques of the Renaissance era.
Featuring 20 paintings, and a large-scale sculptural installation, this collection of art serves as a challenge to societal norms, as well as the accounts that have been both told and accepted throughout history. From Rosales’ “Forbidden Fruit” painting to the artist’s unique version of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling stretched across the hull of an overturned slave ship, Master Narrative highlights the beauty, strength, and resilience of Black people – women, specifically – while touching upon themes of transcendence, tragedy, survival, and creation.
The Los Angeles-based painter spoke with ESSENCE about her new exhibition, the bridge between religion and her art, why she creates in the style of European Old Masters, and more.
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