Spotlight: Hiding in Plain Sight

Artist Statement

I create art to inspire change. I draw inspiration from artists whose creations are a means to construct dialogue around taboo topics. My art is focused on societal issues that are expressed through painting.

Hiding in Plain Sight is a body of work that documents the people of our century, in order for future generations to have an understanding of our present-day experiences. These portraits represent the urban community, a group of people who have been historically omitted from the artistic realm, whether in museums, galleries, or dialogue. These paintings are about presence, acknowledging African Americans of the past by showcasing the African Americans of the present, amplifying a voice through portraiture that has been suppressed for generations.

My subjects come from various sources. Whether I am at a grocery store shopping, traveling to different states, or just going to an event, I’m talking and engaging with the people who occupy those spaces.

Jerrell Gibbs is a fine artist and Creative Community Fellow of the National Arts Strategies. He examines his life-story and that of family and friends in order to conceive and engage in the multilayered experience of the African-American diaspora. His exhibition highlights include: Art in the hands of Men at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Painted Matters at The Galleries at CCBC, and Black Artists of DC: A legacy of Excellence at The Gallery at Howard University. Renowned for his social commentary on issues such as male identity, masculinity, politics, stereotypes, and social issues, Gibbs’s passion for raising awareness on issues that affect the community is transparent through his artwork. His use of dialect integrated with symbolic elements from different cultures is a way to encourage diversity while building social capital. Jerrell likes to leave messages for deeper consideration.

Photo Credit: Dee Davis