“Growing Up Fresh” by Shakeelah Rahmaan

A new, pop-up exhibition at the ARTSpace on Main’s Loft Gallery emphasizes components that contribute to and blend African American culture in the United States. The ARTSpace on Main, 623 S. Main St., will host “Cultural Elements” by Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas (ASC) staff member and Little Rock-based artist Shakeelah Rahmaan. The exhibition will be open now through Nov. 1, 2022. Rahmaan will be available for questions and conversation during a drop-in reception on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

“Cultural Elements” features 16 paintings that depict a variety of staples from Rahmaan’s background representing her experiences and narrative, including hair, street ball, pop culture and hip-hop. The work was created to induce nostalgia that may be delightful or painful, Rahmaan says. “My identity stems from all the experiences in my life both good and bad and by all portions of my culture, heritage, and traditions.”

“I chose to depict African American culture because it is a part of who I am,” says Rahmaan.  “I love my culture and I feel people share what they love through art, conversation, or action.”

Rahmaan has been practicing art since she could hold a pencil. She focuses on mixed media and uses texture as a statement. In addition to her art, she has worked at ASC for three years, currently serving as the education programs manager.

“Representation in the arts is so incredibly important,” says Kayla Earnest, gallery assistant at The ARTSpace on Main. “It is exhibitions like this one that inspires future artists. Maybe some of the young ones who see their culture represented in this exhibition will someday have their own artwork hanging in our galleries.”

About ASC
The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas (ASC), 701 S. Main St. in Pine Bluff, is accredited with the American Alliance of Museums. ASC presents programming in the visual arts, performing arts, and the sciences through exhibits, performances, classes and local partnerships. Gallery admission is free. ASC is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday–Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. In 2021, ASC opened two new facilities as part of its “ARTx3” campus — The ARTSpace on Main and ART WORKS on Main, at 623 and 627 S. Main St. For more information, visit asc701.org or call 870-536-3375.

Support for ASC is provided in part by the ASC Endowment Fund, the City of Pine Bluff, the Pine Bluff Advertising & Promotion Commission and the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Division of Arkansas Heritage and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional operating support is provided in part by the Windgate Foundation, Ben J. Altheimer Foundation, Kline Family Foundation, Relyance Bank and Simmons Bank.