Bronzeville Art Gallery showcases art from the Continent
Faye Edwards met people from the Continent of Africa for the first time when she was eight years old. She became fascinated by them, because they looked like her, but they were different, they moved differently than she did. She vowed that one day she would go to Africa. In 1991, she took her first trip to Mali and Guinea.
That first trip led to others and Edwards continued to be fascinated by the land, the people and the art, which seemed endless. Each time she visited Africa, she traveled to different countries, buying art along the way. She was amazed by the variety and depth of the art in Africa. She also met with the people who created the work.
“The more I began to learn about what it really was, that these are spiritual pieces, that they are not made by just an artist. These people have been brought up in this way of life, they’re priests.
Those trips and her African Art collection led her to open Faie Afrikan Art, located at 1005 E. 43rd Street. During her trips, Edwards was surprised to learn how the art was crafted and what goes into making the art. There is a process to carving wood, which begins with a person asking permission of the tree to cut it. Once permission is given there is a process of preparing the wood so it can be carved.
Edwards has a piece in the gallery that is more than 2,500 years old. It isn’t a big piece. It is one of many pieces in the gallery that showcases art made by people brought up in the tradition of making that kind of art, in that specific way.
Edwards believes it is important for her to bring art from the Continent of Africa back to Bronzeville because the people of Bronzeville are the direct descendants of the people who created the masterpieces in her gallery. She believes that the art should be shown in the communities where those descendants live, with dignity and respect. It is very important to her.
Edwards wants people to come into the gallery to learn more about African art. She has hosted talks about African art at her gallery. There also are books for people to come in and learn more about the art. Faye believes the energy from the authentic art adds energy to the space that people can’t imagine. She called the creation of the pieces spiritual work.
In addition to African art, there is also fine art, created by Black artists. Edwards enjoys the work of artist George Crump because she says, it makes a person think at another level.
Edwards hopes that people walk away with a deeper understanding of the art, a deeper appreciation of what it took to make the pieces and a curiosity.
“There is a deep connection between the African and the African American,” she said.
Faie Afrikan Art has been part of the Bronzeville Arts District Trolley Tour for 15 years. The next tour will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19. For more information about the Bronzeville Arts District Trolley Tour, visit www.bronzevilleartsdistrict.com.
For more information about Faie Afrikan Art, visit www.faieafrikanart.com or call 773-268-2889.
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