A girls group visited the St. Louis Art Museum on Feb. 7, to see the Kehinde Wiley exhibit in particular.
The group has yet to be named but started this year to welcome and empower young African-American girls in WGHS, according to counselor and group sponsor Dana Miller.
This group gives part of WGHS’s minority a chance to speak up on rules or protocol in school.
Miller said, “It’s somewhere where you can talk about things that are important to you, and get some exposure to representation and things that you might not necessarily get in your everyday walk in Webster Groves High School.”
During each meeting, members discuss recent events, global or domestic, and share opinions on them (usually accompanied with a snack such as bagels or pizza), which is why going to see this exhibit specifically was a way to show group members that black artists are being recognized just as much as artists of any other race are.
Kehinde Wiley is known for being the first African American artist to paint the official U.S. Presidential portrait for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. He was selected by former President Barack Obama for this task.
The Kehinde Wiley exhibit consists of paintings of African Americans he met through “street casting.” The St. Louis Art Museum website, under its article “Kehinde Wiley: St. Louis” said, “Kehinde Wiley creates large-scale oil paintings of contemporary African American subjects in poses that recall grand traditions of European and American portraiture. His models—real people dressed in their own clothing—assume poses adapted from historic paintings. Wiley’s portraits often feature ornate and decorative backgrounds, elements of which surround and sometimes weave around his subjects. His works address the politics of race and power in art, drawing attention to the pervasive lack of representation of people of color in the art world.”
After visiting the museum, group members discussed their thoughts on the artwork.
Sophomore, Amissa Blumenthal said, “I thought it was very fascinating that we have representation of people of color and in a museum mostly consisting of Caucasians.”
The group is still looking for participants for this year and next year. Students have to be either a freshman or sophomore this year. There is also a boys group called The Talented Ten.