Inaugural Pride Art Exhibit Hangs at City Hall
By Evan W. Black
While much of the city is pumped up for Saturday’s Pride parade, the first-ever Pride Houston art exhibit is up all month long at City Hall. The show, organized by the newly established Pride Houston Art Program initiative, highlights the work of five artists who tell their personal story and connection to Pride through art.
Justin O’Keith Higgs is among the featured artists. His unique medium combines body art and photography; he paints his subjects, who are all members of the LGBTQ community, in pride colors. Abiola Wabara — raised in Italy by Nigerian parents before attending Baylor on a basketball scholarship — is a self-taught artist who uses her unique cultural background to inform her oil paintings. Her work frequently hangs at the Houston Museum of African American Culture.
Jieqi Ren, who arrived in Houston from China at age 11, aspires to inspire other Asian members of the LGBTQ community. The fashion-design grad creates pop-surrealistic pieces that range from small sketches to large-scale, mixed-media paintings. Crystal Murley also produces colorful mixed-media pieces, in addition to glass sculptures. She frequently donates her art and her time to LGBTQ charities and organizations.
Katy native Wes Holloway also gives back to the community, demonstrating to underserved groups how art can heal. Holloway suffered a spinal cord injury and became paralyzed from the chest down in 2003. Despite not having regained use of his legs, abdomen or hands, he produces meaningful paintings and collages that explore the human form, societal norms and gender themes. “Being a part of this exhibit reinforces my feelings that we all have a story to tell,” says Holloway. “Even with our differences, we can express our experiences in a healthy, beautiful and often thought-provoking way.
“These images, like literature, can transcend the now, and even speak to future viewers. This is why I love to see what other artists are creating in our community.”
AT TOP: ‘Lovers Carry’ by Wes Holloway