“Joelvincii In Retrospect” Explores Identity, Class and Race at The Fridge

Joelvincii, (right), discusses his journey as an artist with Terence Washington, assistant curator at the National Gallery of Art. Projected behind, two works:  “Children of the Capitol” and “Children of the White House.”

Projected behind the principals is a painting from the “Heirs” series.

On the left, clearly one of the artist’s favorite paintings, “Upper Room” – on the right, a self portrait.

“Joelvincii In Retrospect” Explores Identity, Class and Race at The Fridge

by Larry Janezich

Joelvincii’s works, currently on view at The Fridge through October 28, attempt to answer the question the artist asks himself, “What is my identity and where did I come from?”  He told a crowd at an artist’s talk at the National Gallery of Art on October 1, that his work is a “summary of my understanding of history.”  And he sees that history as a process of evolution – a series of adaptations of people to their environment.

The 27 paintings in the exhibit at the Fridge explore the identity from the viewpoint of an African American man who was raised in Southeast DC who attended high school in an affluent Northwest neighborhood.

The artist’s goal, he says, is to generate a conversation between viewers – he sees art as a means to generate a discussion about race that might not be possible in other settings:  “I want people to be better informed and to better understand the experience of what it means to be an African American living in America today.”

Asked about his half-grey hair, Joelvincii says “It’s not a birthmark, unfortunately.  It’s a symbol of neutrality between black and white – it’s a daily reminder that getting caught up in race is self-destructive and to escape that you have to have grace.”

The exhibit is on view through October 28.  Saturday, October 13, The Gallery will be open special hours – 10:00am – 6:00pm.


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