FORT LAUDERDALE — Old Dillard Museum explores the history of juke joints and other places of importance in the socialization of people of African descent that were predominant in previous eras in a new exhibit that opens today.
“Stingy Brim: Juke, Jive and Jazz” features the artwork by Bayunga Kialeuka, a Miami artist who was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Through paintings, Kialeuka explores the roots and cultural significance of informal social establishments (juke joints, honkytonks, backrooms and nightclubs) that offered food, liquor, dancing and gambling to the African American community.
“No matter where we came from, there’s an aspect of our ancestry that will reveal itself,” Kialeuka said.
A reception to launch the exhibit begins at 6 p.m. at Old Dillard, 1009 NW Fourth Street in Fort Lauderdale.
Title comes from the name of a style of hat that has seen resurgence in the 2000s among pop celebrities such as Justin Tiimberlake and Brad Pitt. Kialeuka said the hat predates that crop of celebrities with one from another era. The fedora was a favorite of legendary saxophonist Thelonious Monk, a FAMU alumnus.
In the exhibit, Kialeuka depicts the emotions of working class people in their environments. Much of these works are drawings and paintings on canvas. They exhibit as a sequence of frames organized much like a storyboard.
Kialeuka said the title “Stingy Brim,” symbolizes the shared ancestry and experiences of the subjects. Each piece depicts everyday people celebrating the company of one another, with circumstances that wouldn’t change wether, they were in Kinshasa (Congo), Liberty City, Treme (New Orleans) or Bangu (Rio de Janeiro).
“Many gather to satisfy the human need to be among others. This, too, is symbolized by the stingy brim,” he said.