The work of SUNY Oswego’s fall 2021 artist-in-residence Ellen M. Blalock deeply explores the experience of living “. . . While Black.” It is currently open, running through Feb. 18 in the Tyler Hall Corner Gallery, room 208.

An Artist Meet and Greet Reception will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 4. The exhibition is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays in the second-floor gallery.

This site base installation of photographs, quilts and words uses the bird as a metaphor to embody the experience of Black people in relationship to their freedom, past, present and future.  

. . . While Black” turns a gallery into a quiet sacred space to meditate and to recognize the magic, the miracle, of the African American experience and also to acknowledge the truths, the horrors, of “Living While Black” in America.

SUNY Oswego students, faculty and staff and several community members helped build “The Ancestor Tree” quilt. Each participant worked on one or more 12-inch square blocks of the pattern of the 9-by-8-foot quilt. This quilt represents the life force of the souls of Black people and the ancestral wisdom of the many enslaved Africans.

The exhibition notes that “. . . While Black” reflects on the fragility of Blacks living in a high alert systematic state designed to cage and kill them, and also reflects on the relentless thriving force of being Black in America with no apologies.

The SUNY Oswego Artist-in-Residence program is a collaboration with Artswego; the School of Communication, Media and the Arts; the Department of Art and Design; and the Institute for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Transformative Practice.