Black Birds in the Night Sky

Mathis Thoerrisen, Editor-in-Chief

  Gallery 221@HCC located on the Dale Mabry campus is now hosting an exhibition by renowned artist Delita Martin. The exhibition is part of the 17th annual Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival and will run from Jan. 17 through March. 2.

  Martin draws inspiration from storytelling and quilt work, which shines through in her complex mixed media prints. The exhibition is composed of 11 of Martin’s prints that are made by combining different techniques. Gelatin printing, Conte crayon, hand stitching and relief are just some of the techniques Martin uses to realize her pictures.

  “Black Birds in the Night Sky” features stunning portraits of African-American women and are inspired by vintage and family photos, as well as, oral traditions. Martin’s mixed techniques makes for intriguing and diverse prints that evoke curiosity and emotion with the viewers.

  Martin is currently based in Huffman, Texas. She has a BFA in drawing from Texas Southern University and a MFA in printmaking from Purdue University.

  Martin is a former member of the fine arts faculty at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and currently she works as a full-time artist in her own studio, Black Box Press.

  As an internationally renowned artist, Martin is represented in numerous collections throughout the United States, both private and corporate. Most recently, Martin was featured together with 100 other artists in the “State of the Arts: Discovering American Art Now.”

  Martin found her way to the walls of HCC through Dale Mabry art curator, Patricia Sriram. After meeting Sriram at the University of Tampa, Martin agreed to visit Gallery 221@HCC. “I was instantly impressed with the space and quickly accepted the invitation to exhibit.”

  This is not Martin’s first time exhibiting at a college, and she says that students appreciate her work much like other people, every viewer is different. Martin thinks that her “work addresses social commentary in that it references family structures and role women play within that structure.”

  In terms of a political statement, Martin says, “the black body and the female body are historically political. So, I feel like the work has no choice but to be political in that I have dared to address both in my work.”

  Gallery 221@HCC located at the Dale Mabry library and is open Monday through Wednesday, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., Thursdays, 9 a.m.- 7 p.m. and Fridays, 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.