Art exhibition: “Exploring Conceptual Possibilities: Black Inner Vision,” at UH Hilo Campus Center, open to public

Curator Lamerol Gatewood: “Richly physical and digitally dimensional, these works spring from an inner vision of the Black experience.”

Several artworks hung for display on cement walls. At right is a young girl in fancy ethnic clothing against a red background.
The artwork above is now on display as part of the “Exploring Conceptual Possibilities: Black Inner Vision” exhibition at UH Hilo running now through April 21. (Michael Marshall/UH Hilo Department of Art)

By Susan Enright.

The public is invited to an art exhibit at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo featuring the conceptual art of acclaimed Black artists from throughout the country. The exhibit, “Exploring Conceptual Possibilities: Black Inner Vision,” opened last week at UH Hilo’s Campus Center, and will be on display through April 21.

The group show features work by Adjoa J. Burrowes, a Washington D.C. area mixed media artist; Carl Hazlewood, artist, writer, curator and co-founder of the Aljira Center for Contemporary Art in Newark, New Jersey; Algernon Miller, a leading figure in the intellectual wing of Afrofuturism; Lisette Morel, a NJ-based Dominican-American artist, mother, educator and occasional curator who expresses a nomadic ritualistic practice in her work; and Danielle Scott, a politically and socially astute mixed-media artist.

The exhibit is organized by the UH Hilo Department of Art under the direction of Professor of Art Michael Marshall along with university students Tristan Renae, Kala van Veen, Haley Williams, Sarah Ledward, and a member of the Hilo community Chris Rogers. An intern from Waiakea High School, Isis De Los Santos, helped with the exhibition installation as part of her senior project on the recommendation of her art teacher Lane Luna, who is a 1990 graduate of the UH Hilo art department.

Lamerol Gatewood pictured
Lamerol Gatewood

Curator of the exhibit is Lamerol Gatewood, an acclaimed contemporary visual artist from Brooklyn, NY.

Gatewood says the artists selected for this exhibition have “created their own personal visual language to address many of the global, social, political, economic, climate injustice, identity, and critical race issues.” The works express each artist’s vision through the use of different mediums that include found objects, recycled materials, necklaces, vintage fabric, 24 karat gold leaf, printing making, oil, and acrylic paint.

“The artists signify, abstractly and figuratively, their interest in ritualistic, organic codes, sacred geometry, 19th century quilt patterns and illusion of spatial dimension, movement, and performance,” says Gatewood in a statement about the exhibit.

“Richly physical and digitally dimensional, these works spring from an inner vision of the Black experience, grounded in a rebalancing of our cultural inventions through music and the exploration of conceptual possibilities.”

Artist Burroughs explains, “This work is about our families during the great migration from the south to the north, and our families moving from Cuba, Guyana, and the Dominican Republic to the United States.”


Several artworks hung for display on cement walls. At left is a portrait of a Black child in fancy clothing surrounded by black flowers.
Curator Lamerol Gatewood says the artists selected for the “Exploring Conceptual Possibilities: Black Inner Vision” exhibition at UH Hilo have “created their own personal visual language to address many of the global, social, political, economic, climate injustice, identity, and critical race issues.” (Cooper Lund/UH Hilo Stories)

Artist statements (excerpts)

Adjoa J. Burrowes: The themes in my work include visual narratives relating to the angst of contemporary life, in an increasingly dangerous political landscape. Many of my recent hand pulled prints reflect the tension of the times including the pandemic, massive social unrest, and the toll racism, and injustice wrought in society.

Carl Hazlewood: Whether hovering between two and three dimensions, or negotiating a flat digital surface, what I’ve done, including this new series of work-on-paper, is always grounded in the technical openness and formal, emotional, and cultural problematics of painting.

Algernon Miller: This series of small oil paintings, “Dimensional Gateways,” represents a sampling of a large scale body of work. The selection signifies my interest in codes, sacred geometry,19th century quilt patterns and the illusion of spatial dimension and movement, transforming the way one experiences the work, by drawing the viewer in from almost any angle. Thereby adding a new dynamic to my ongoing painting practice.

Lisette Morel (excerpt from her bio): NJ based Dominican-American artist, mother, educator and occasional curator born in New York City. She embraces an untamed nomadic ritualistic practice. The process is an organic intuitive extension of her body which helps her navigate our transient existence, question, and challenge set systematic boundaries.

Danielle Scott: An artist’s duty is to tell the times. I made a decision that no one can keep me from telling these stories. We must speak as women and artists so we do not remain unheard, unknown, and unseen. The series pays homage to all women of color, African American, Asian, Indian and Hispanic. As an Afro-Cuban/Filipino artist I make sure to celebrate and honor all that I am in my work.

The exhibit is open to the public through April 21

The exhibit is located at UH Hilo’s Campus Center, room 301 and the third floor East Wing Galleries, now through April 21, 2023. Campus Center is open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Members of the public are encouraged to call the center before visiting to schedule a time to come when the areas are not in use for other events (808-932-7365).


Story by Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.