A Point Of View
People and the Power of Distinction

November 14 - December 2, 2016
Opening Reception: Monday, November 14, 5-7pm

A Point of View is a collection of miniatures, full size paintings, objects and writings inspired by everyday people.  In this exhibit, Aquila Ayana McCants shows how she is shaped by the stories of others. 

Born in a rural town in Alabama with a population of 150 people, Aquila was raised with the help of her Muskogee Creek grandmother.  Almost everything was art and utilitarian and she was always weaving sweetgrass baskets, embroidering, drawing, mixing soap, chiseling wood or simply roaming through the woods and dancing through the tall grasses, gathering anything pretty or unusual. 

After moving to the South Bronx, and through the efforts of her mother, a college graduate, and a local minister/activist, Aquila attended a notable school for the arts where education was inspiring, fun and challenging.  Then, after attending Pratt Institute and while studying art at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she came under the influence and mentorship of painter Nelson Stevens and writer Michael Thelwell, both of the Afro-American Studies Department who supported her enthusiastically.

Years later, and after taking a break to raise a family, being involved in social justice initiatives as well as employment at UMASS, she found that art was still calling her.  Once again, her support came at just the right time.  It was during semi-retirement that the late, great Richard Yarde inspired her to continue in art and talked about making different genres and techniques one’s own. Why not marry art and writing? Why not move on and not regret “lost time?”

Aquila’s works, sometimes literal but most often interpretive, explore textures and patterns with their swirls, curls, angles and bright colors to tell the stories of her experiences and imagination.