YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — There’s Black art on display this month at the Butler Institute of American Art. One of those artists was in town on Friday to share the story behind the art.
Billy Gerard Frank has two bodies of work on display. One is called “Indigo Entanglements,” which is a series of large canvas artwork exploring the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
“It’s all done in natural pigment, indigo pigments,” Frank says. “Indigo was a major trade during the slave trade.”
Frank was born in the West Indies. He says much of the work he does is steeped in his personal narrative of being from the Caribbean.
“My work mind, social issues regarding migration, colonialism, exile, sexuality. And this has always been part of my trajectory as an artist,” Frank says.
During his visit at the Butler, he says he feels there’s amazing Black art around and that there’s a need for more space in which to exhibit and show the works. Even though he says New York has seen this work, the exposure to Black art and Black artists is welcome in Youngstown.
Frank is also an educator and really likes when students use film to talk about history.
“Through film, I think it’s an easy medium for [students] to get into this kind of work,” Frank says.
The Butler also has art from Youngstown’s Maple Turner III.
The museum is open every day except Mondays.