Akwaaba Gallery's- "The New Jersey Narratives"


Owner of Akwaaba Gallery Ray Palmer, Laura Bonas-Palmer and Governor Phil Murphy, with First Lady Tammy Murphy.

Governor Phil Murphy and first lady Tammy Murphy's Vision, with NJPAC, truly embody a spirit of joy and hope. It reminds us to celebrate diversity, our progress, along with our struggles. The Gallery  Akwaaba was the third stop out of the 3 cities. Check out the NorthtoShore website for tickets. This event was sponsored by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the New Jersey Reinvestment Development Authority, New Jersey Travel and Tourism, NJM Insurance Group, Outfront, PSEG, and RWJBarnabas Health. United Airlines is the official Airline sponsor for the 2023 North to Shore Festival. 

"We have as much talent as any American state and more, and our location is second to none. We Could put on a festival that competes with South by South West and frankly outcompetes it."

Water that is stagnant, is still. The water that flows is fresh. It purifies and creates pathways that connect lakes, and rivers, and eventually makes its way to the sea. Ocean water is the celestial incubator for life. This disambiguation of the human anatomy is a biological collection of curated identities that validate our existence through the local scene. When the collaborative effort of talented individuals in our communities are recognized and sponsored by respected institutions, we begin to make waves.

You can see the premise of this statement in action when you go to spaces throughout the four corners of Newark New Jersey, especially Akwaaba Gallery. The North 2 Shore events in collaboration with NJPAC, become a landmark of biodiversity.  This fresh and invigorating festival is a collection of music, art, and food. This narrative is biographical to the people who preserve history through their cultures. It enlightens the observer that they are not isolated from the objects they see. Instead of fighting the currents of time,  our imagination forms a conscious link that coordinates us to move to one ultimate global vision-our survival despite the political times and issues concerning our environment. 

Governor Phil Murphy and NJPA CEO John Schreiber

 This allegorical reference to the sea had parted both ways, to form a new passage. On both sides of the walls are islands of our individuality. The diasporic excavation of clues, relaxing eyes. Take a moment and look at the artists' names, and the title given to each historical item. Without tediously sifting through sand, their voice breaks through the silence,  distinctive in their accent.  Here in the gallery conversation can be short and lengthy, especially when it comes to trying to interpret what's inside of you. 

Jazlyne Sabree, "Detangling roots to find my rice", 2023, 48x30, Mixed Media on Canvas

Jazlyne Sabree, “Detangling my roots to find rice”, was strange in a good way. All too familiar. A portrait, of a mother and child, performing the cultural ritual of grooming oneself. The vulnerability of something many have experienced was laid out into the open. This exposure of our flesh isn't as difficult. Becoming aware of one's nakedness in a public space, while admiring ones Afrikaness, projects feelings of exoticism, like that of  a giraffe or zebra. The bag of Carolina rice on the floor, is a historical reference to slavery when black women would part their hair.  Then align grains of rice onto their scalp beofore corrowing.  It is a profound testament to Afrikan resilency. 

Artist Dionne Jackson, Governor Phil Murphy, First Lady Tammy Murphy, Owner of Akwaaba Gallery Laura Bonas-Palmer, Ray Palmer

Dionne Jackson had managed to create limbs out of branches. Her spiritual sculpture erected by the window was titled, "Don't you Dare Touch My Hair". It decorated the space with the sanctity of the earth. Complimenting her on the staff that had faces, she excitedly brought out a piece that had butterflies,  as well as the staff she presented to the governor. Tracing the patterns and relishing in the feeling while gliding it through your hands, you feel powerful. The Image of Usain Bolt, and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, entitled "Sweep" on the Wall, by Stephen B. Ellis, had a likeness to that of the Zulu Warriors of South Africa. 

With a quick glance, you visit a corner of the world. This oddity of language and stories is contextualized in the format of colors, patterns, the elements of wood,  flavor, and sometimes even tin foil. This rapture of dreams and reality is a whirlwind,  melting our stories, perhaps even secrets.  You are the audience that witnesses, revolution, gospels, fables, and traditions passed down through generations of how we lived, what we did, and where we came from. 

As the pinnacle of the event came to its peak, there was a fascination that extended over the faces of people. The entanglement of expressions, with their laughter. They were characters of a memoir, living, and breathing, existing in the glory of themselves. The eccentric beauty of each human's mind began to reveal their souls. 

Few of the works Seen:

  • Heather Williams, "Black Moon over the Land", felt like an omen, the friction of both black and white looked like tearings, and scraping motions made out of Acrylic on Canvas.
  • Tamara Torres, "White Bird", is a conviction with themes of light and darkness. Made out of Acrylic and oil.
  • Jay Golding, "Calm after the Storm" is an ancestral homage, it shows a woman's face adorned in a Yoruban mask. Made out of Acrylic and Paper towels.
  • Geri Ghan, "Smile: The public face of Private Grief" frames, Silk on silk, cotton, and Metalic thread floss.
  • Steve Green, "Cazeland and Kangaroo" An MC "Mothers Day" and woman sitting in a chair on, both Mixed Media on Paper
  • Suzan Globus, "Felicia", Orange silhouettes of a woman with the contrast of dark hues of blues, contemporary mixed media art.
  • Antoinette Ellis-Williams, Circular Patterns, "Cools Cat Red House" and "Guinea Fowls Making Moves" Mixed Media Collage.
  • German Pitrie, "Wizard the trouble with this dark secret", Mixed Media on Canvas.

    If you enjoy what you have read, please Visit Akwaaba Gallery.

    "The New Jersey Narratives" Featured Artist :
















    Location: 509 South Orange Avenue, Newark, New Jersey 07103, United States

    (917) 260 -9122 akwaabagallery@gmail.com


    Monday - Closed

    Tues, Wed: 10 am - 6 pm

    Thur: 11 am -4 pm (seniors only)

    Friday: 10 am - 6 pm

    Saturday: 10 am-6 pm

    Sunday: Closed

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