This year, the Prizm Art Fair Miami, a premier art event that takes place every year in the city of Miami showcased work by some of the most talented and up-and-coming artists from the African diaspora. Over sixty emerging and established galleries and artists offered varied diasporic narratives and perspectives while riveting conversations led by new and established thought leaders and diasporic visual arts practice and cutting-edge events and installations offered sensory delight.
Prizm’s Vernacular À la Mode explored how vernacular modes of art making originating in global African contexts have influenced the cultivation of fine art practice worldwide. An impressive line-up of artists included Lekeisha Wolf, Alanis Forde, Zenle Montile, Amber Robles Gorden, Jeffrey Kent, Renee Cox, Juan Logan, Tesdaye Makonnen, Alisha Wormsley (who founded Sibyl’s Shrine,) Haitian artists Dudley Alexis and Herve Sabin. Located at the intersection of Little Haiti and the new Brickell community, coined Miami’s Design District, Little Haiti, home to an immigrant community on the front line facing developer displacement, and Juan Logan, Kraig Yearwood, and,DC artists, Gorden and Tsdaye Makonnen provided an integral component to the Miami Basel art fair.
Herve Sabin, born in Haiti, paints to explore issues of migration, language and Identity, human rights, and love.
Another artist representing many of the vernaculars of indigenous culture is Alisha B. Wormsley with her installation entitled There are Black People in the Future. Wormsley , an interdisciplinary artist and cultural producer imagines the future of arts, science, and technology through the black womxn lens, challenging contemporary views of modern American life by creating objects, sculptures, a billboards, performance, or film and thrives in collaboration.
LaKeisha Wolf’s work is another excellent presentation of the theme Vernacular. Wolf is among the many female artists who are part of Sibyl’s Shrine. She is a self-taught artisan, whose insightful skills were honed in the embrace of the Africana cultural community in Pittsburgh, PA. She also is the founder of a micro-enterprise centered on making and wellness. This multidisciplinary creator has grown her competency working to uplift and center her own healing, as well as that of Black women and the broader Black community, using nature, arts and culture. Beading and wire-wrapping gemstone jewelry is what initiated her artistic practice, which includes making in a variety of forms, all of which are anchored by a desire to reflect the highest forms of self -love. LaKeisha leads through the lens of creativity, shared cultural values and community, working with artists and organizers to develop place-making strategies, models of equity for community resources, as well as local and global partnerships rooted in the values of fair trade entrepreneurship and cooperation. Wolf’s resources are purpose-centered relationships, stones and natural elements, symbols and affirmations. Amber Robles Gorden’s installation of vertically suspended walking sticks, layered with patterned textiles explains, “My artwork is a visual representation of my hybridism: a fusion of my gender, ethnicity, cultural, and social experiences. I impose colors, imagery, and materials that evoke femininity and tranquility with the intent of transcending or balancing a specific form. I associate working with light, color, and energy as a positive means to focus on the healing power found in the creative process and within us all. It is my belief that colors have both feminine and masculine energies and each color represents a specific aspect of nature.” Tsedaye Makonnen, is an artist-curator, mother, birth-worker of East African descent focuses on intersectional feminism, reproductive health and migration. Her colorful photography shares the strength of women and their contributions through migration. Her intention is to create a spiritual network around the world that re-calibrates the energy towards something positive and life affirming. Alanis Forde, a contemporary Barbadian oil painter and collagist specializes in expressionistic realism portraiture. Alanis’ concepts are based primarily on the black female identity in an idealized, exotic, paradisiacal Caribbean space.