Taking a pause from her busy Hollywood career, Black Panther star Angela Bassett is now trying her hand at curating. Bassett has organized a show of artist Chelle Barbour’s Afro-Surrealist collages at Los Angeles gallery Band of Vices, opening September 15.
“I’ve been a lover of art for many, many years, so it was just a new venture for me,” Bassett told the Hollywood Reporter. The actress said she is a lifelong friend of gallery founder and actor Terrell Tilford, who approached her with the opportunity to get involved in the show as a special guest curator. “And when he introduced me to Chelle’s work, I was excited about it as well, about this young artist that I heretofore wan’t familiar with but found her work to be really strong and really striking in many ways.”
Barbour’s work considers depictions of African-American women in the media. It “explores the notion of the other or the alien or marginalization, but she uses the black woman as her muse,” Bassett said. “When I, as an artist, look out into the world, I find those voices, whether it be art or music or narration, that celebrate our beauty, our being different, as a strength, as something positive.”
Barbour said she was flattered by Bassett’s interest in her work. “I have been a fan of hers for years,” she told the Hollywood Reporter. “I’m pleased that she likes the work, that she’s seen it. Her endorsement just leaves me speechless.” Bassett was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Tina Turner in the 1993 biopic What’s Love Got to Do with It.
Aside from lending her curatorial eye to the show, Bassett’s Hollywood connections could be an asset to the artist. “I have friends from so many different areas of my life, and as soon as they would meet each other, they all embraced, everyone just enjoyed each other and felt so comfortable and so high and blessed,” Bassett said. “I gather all these people from errant parts of the globe and get them together and there’s still a kinship and friendship and a love. It’s a blessing.”
Barbour’s work is part of the permanent collection of the California African American Museum and the photography archives of the J Paul Getty Museum.
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