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Chester County Press

Fresh voices at Art Alliance's Lincoln University exhibit

01/22/2018 10:11AM ● By J. Chambless

'Conversation' by Dwight Lacy.

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

The Lincoln University Visual Arts Exhibit, which opened last weekend at the Oxford Arts Alliance, is the first of its kind, and long overdue. It spotlights fresh voices and has a satisfying breadth of mediums, providing some striking images.

The painted clay vessel by Ny'Daaja Davis, “Handprints of Africa,” has a wonderful glaze that functions as a landscape – dark earth, green-blue water and white sky, marked with two large, black handprints.

Dwight Lacy's large acrylic paintings of semi-abstracted faces are friendly and fun, particularly the two-panel “Conversation.” Cheyenne Coston's silkscreen/digital prints “Strong Black Woman” and “Kawren” are bold images of empowerment.

Cornelius Pearson III shows three prints from what looks like a superhero animated film, with a powerful-looking hero, leading you to want to see more of the adventure. Photographer Daniel Ray Williams has two wonderful closeup portraits – “Masked Woman,” particularly – that demand attention. On the other hand, Hazziza Abdullah's photos, “Blue Man” and “Tension,” are dimly lit and mysterious, revealing little but the eyes of the subjects, and drawing you in to see more.

Whitney McQueen's two dashiki cotton tops have bold lines that put a modern spin on traditional patterns. Students in two printmaking classes have collaborated on two large silkscreen panels that skillfully blend colors and text in fresh new ways.

The video by Marcellus Armstrong that's shown on the back gallery wall expands the range of media nicely, and its found-image structure will hold you intrigued.

Dorian McKinney has four paintings that put a resonant twist on classic artworks by replacing their white subjects with people of color, and augmenting the canvases with fragments of mirror, putting the observer into the artwork in shattered scraps of reflection. They are memorable statements.

But Wasaba Sidibay gets straight to your heart with her three marker drawings that resemble stained glass windows but depict harrowing images of a tragic past. “Meditations of the Heart: Strange Fruit” shows a lynching, with the victim's feet dripping blood. “Emmett Till: I'm Still Grieving” abstracts the horrific disfigurement of Till, who was murdered by racists in 1955. Sibiday's “Why Do Children Suffer?” is also raw and tragic, if only slightly less shocking than her other two pieces. Taken as a whole, they are riveting.

On Jan. 24 at 7 p.m., exhibit curator and Lincoln professor Jeffrey Chapp will lead a gallery talk about the history of Lincoln University's art department. Alumni, students and professors will gather to talk about this student show. The exhibition continues through Feb. 10. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit for more information.

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email