Known for his dramatic, monumental paintings of bodybuilders, Madison artist Comfort Wasikhongo has recently turned his attention to portraits of Black intellectual leaders and individuals from his own community and personal history. Bodies of Knowledge will include several of Wasikhongo’s canvases depicting contemporary bodybuilders alongside portraits of Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, and E. Franklin Frazier, and ambitious group portraits of friends and fellow students. Wasikhongo describes the relationship between these disparate bodies of work in this way:
"My latest portraits are inspired by the leadership and history of three African-American men who made legacies while fighting against racism in the late 19th- and early 20th century. As I worked to capture their likeness and personality, I kept thinking about how focused, determined, and well-spoken these men had to be to define the terms of their own philosophies and to work with others toward their goals of racial uplift and social justice. As I painted these intellectual leaders and read their words, I found qualities of conviction and self-assurance that I also found in the bodybuilders I have been painting for years. In discovering their work, success, and belief in what they were doing, I have been granted a new depth of thought about the bodies, personalities, and values of these types of men."
Join us for an artists' reception on Friday, April 15, from 6-8pm.