Spirit, Faith, and Identity: By Ed Watkins

August 17, 2023 - December 30, 2023

Spirit, Faith, and Identity: By Ed Watkins
August 17, 2023 – December 30, 2023

Ed Watkins is a Flint native who has dedicated his life to teaching visual arts and design. Watkins’s immersive experience in city and faith environments is communicated through careful observation and executed through exceptional technical expertise. Like documentary-style photography that showcases people and places as they are, Watkins provides a record of places and people existing in the space of specific moments. Unlike photography, however, the connection between his mind and hand without the interference of an intermediary machine like a camera creates an intimacy that can only be achieved from human interaction.

Watkins’ artistic practice revolves around the concept of “drawing from life,” which encompasses more than technical skill. It is a means for Watkins to define his practice and incorporate his personal observations and experiences into his creations. Each artwork becomes a window into his world—a world of hope, fear, confidence, anxiety, struggle, and peace. Through his art, Watkins aims to make sense of the world around him and his experiences as a Black man in America, reflecting his unwavering spirit and faith. Through his drawings and mixed media artworks, Watkins exemplifies moments of reflection, celebration, healing, and despair, shedding light on the intersection of spirit, faith, and identity.

The path to becoming an artist was unexpected for Watkins. Initially discouraged from pursuing higher education, his course changed when a chance encounter during a high school track event led him to Bowling Green State University where he pursued his passion for art and would receive a Bachelor of Education, Art Education followed by a Master of Education. Since, his art has evolved alongside the world’s developments, reflecting his ongoing engagement with the social and political landscape.

In this exhibition, Watkins’ artworks are inspired by his African American experience. They capture moments that reflect the rich tapestry of emotions within the African American community. From expressions of joy and celebration to moments of introspection and healing, each piece serves as a powerful testament to the resilience and spirit that emerge from developing a personal identity. Watkins’ art embodies his cultural and political awareness, as well as his visual learning style, allowing viewers to gain a deeper understanding of the African American perspective.

Opening Reception August 17, 2023 5:30-7:30pm. All are welcome.
Registration requested but not required

Artist Talk October 14, 2023 1pm

Exhibition Support Provided by: