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Marlborough School Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

A.A.C.E. shines at the Black History Month Art Show

In celebration of Black History Month, the African American Cultural Exchange affinity group took a new approach to spotlighting the Black experience at Marlborough, as well as the world, by exhibiting art from Marlborough families’s homes. 

The art show was held in Seaver gallery through February and displayed art brought in by AACE families and faculty members. With the theme of “Black History Month Through Our Eyes,” the exhibit displayed multi-media art such as paintings, photographs and books that represent the experiences, interests and, in some cases, personal and family stories from Black members of our community.  

“‘Black History Month Through Our Eyes’ to me represents the fact that Black people are not a monolith,” Director of Equity and Inclusion Jenn Wells said. “Even through the many submissions from Black faculty, staff and students, we can see that we as a people have many stories, perspectives and ways of being.”

Each submission showed a unique and individual experience with submissions such as family photos, sorority and fraternity memorabilia and a variety of books and poems.

“Everything in there brings in different aspects of being Black at Marlborough and being Black in the world,” AACE Vice President Fallyn Gowans ‘24 said. 

On Feb. 17, AACE held a reception for the official opening of the exhibit as a time to share and celebrate the art with the public and families who brought in pieces.

Among the contributors to the show was Performing Arts Department Head Mpambo Wina who brought in a biography of the first Black classical ballet company in the United States called “The Dance Theater of Harlem.” This is the same company that Wina formerly danced for, and the book features a photo of her. 

“Aside from me being in the book, it was really exciting that that part of history was finally being written and shared because a lot of people just don’t know about it,” Wina said. “It really places the company in dance history.” 

Like Wina, Science instructor Khanichi Charles took a personal approach and brought in family photos of her grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grandfather who lived in the segregated south. Charles’s great-great grandfather H.D. Williams was an original trustee of the Everdale Baptist Church in Selma Alabama which served as a place to educate Black children who had been barred from attending public schools because of segregation laws. She also provided digital collage prints from UK artist Zoë. The prints feature authors, artists, athletes and entertainers who have served as inspirational figures in Charles’s life. 

“Each time I set eyes on these bold figures, scenes from my memories play like a rerun of an old and familiar movie classic, reels of truth, power, joy, and sorrow,” Charles said. “Owning this collection has magnified the fondness I hold for my memories, and I appreciate the artist for affirming my experiences through her own.”

Dean of College Counseling and English Instructor Brian K. Smith also contributed by displaying a poem written during the height of the Black Lives Matter Movement, in response to the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. Arbery was killed while running by two white citizens for being Black. 

“As a runner, his death hit me hard as, if not for the grace of God, that could have been me,” Smith said. 

This is the first year AACE has held this art show in honor of Black History Month. The council hopes to continue this show for years to come and incorporate different art forms, concepts and themes. 

“This particular exhibit was a way for the Marlborough Community to see personal pieces of artwork that serve as reminders of our rich and important history,” Smith said. “Personal pieces that are often displayed in our homes, offices and or items that have been passed down from generation to generation are displayed in this exhibit each holding a sentimental message to the bearer.” 

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