I met Delvecchio Faison last year at The Carrack during the opening reception for L. Jamal Walton’s “Welcome To My Madness” exhibition. We discussed a collaboration he was working on with Walton and artist Malcolm Goff.
It was interesting, I thought, because the idea was spawned, from work they’d done for “Running For Hope,” a novel by the John Hope Franklin Young Scholars with graphic autobiographical scenes from John Hope Franklin’s life. Faison, Goff and Walton created the illustrations.
What Faison and I discussed that day is now a reality. “Pictures Spark Words: From John Hope Franklin to Now” opens Friday at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham — on Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.
The exhibit, curated by N.C. Central art professor Gail Williams, will run through the first week of August.
I caught up with Faison recently to talk a bit about the trio’s work and what they’re hoping to accomplish.
Q: What’s behind the title of the show?
The title was spawned from a rap album by artist Rapper Big Pooh (formerly of Little Brother) whose latest album is called “Words Paint Pictures.” Malcolm and I didn’t want it to sound too obvious, so we agreed that our show will be called “Pictures Spark Words,” so that when the viewer looks at our work, it will spark some kind of discourse.
Q: There are a lot of significant things about this show. John Hope Franklin. The Hayti Heritage Center. Juneteenth. What are you, Malcolm and Jamal hoping people will walk away with?
The Hayti Heritage Center is a historical staple of Durham. Malcolm and I both have had our work shown here in the past and see it as an honor and privilege to have our work displayed on the walls. [The show] will give the observer different viewpoints depicting black life, history and culture.
The reception on Juneteenth is major to us because we have our unique pride and viewpoints of what people of our hue and ethnic background have contributed to our country and world, not only as black people but also as human beings.
Q: The show was curated by Gail Williams. What made you guys reach out to her?
We wanted to have someone who had strong knowledge and experience in curating [this type] of show. She has experience working with other artists in the area and is an artist/artisan/educator herself. She was one of my instructors when I went back to school at NCCU to obtain my license/certification to teach art.
Q: How did you like working with Jamal and Malcolm?
It has been a good experience. I have learned quite a bit and will take the experience to better myself as a professional artist in the community.
Jamal’s illustrations chronicle parts of John Hope Franklin’s life. Franklin, a major contributor to black history, worked tirelessly and diplomatically to shed light on black people’s impact on American history. Malcolm’s work and my work differ in subject matter [depicting] black people. Some of his work is multi-layered, touching on hip-hop culture, war, etc. My work depicts people playing music, sports and just focusing on the human figure. Very different viewpoints but I think it’s a good mesh of our styles for this show.
“Pictures Spark Words: From John Hope Franklin to Now”
Work by Malcolm Goff, Delvecchio Faison and L. Jamal Walton
Curated by Gail Williams
Opening reception: June 19, 6 to 8 p.m. at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham