The eclectic, internationally celebrated Art Basel is becoming more soulful. The soul infusion began three years ago with the Art Africa Miami Arts Fair (AAMAF), an event launched by local architect Neil Hall “to showcase engaging and thought-provoking art that served a continuum of the Black, Caribbean, social, political, hip hop artistic strand that spoke to the Black Presence missing from the Art Basel script.”
The effort is being enhanced this year with the launch of Soul Basel Overtown: A Celebration of Art, Music and Culture in Colored Town. Overtown is known for its former status as a vibrant community with a vibrant nightlife that featured a who’s who of the country’s most acclaimed African American performers. With widespread efforts underway to recapture the lost essence of the area that include a variety of housing, shopping and entertainment options, Soul of Basel is a fitting addition to Art Basel, the global art festival turned destination event for art lovers from around the world.
Overtown: The Soul of Basel kicked off last month with a Paint Party at the Clyde Killens Pool Hall. On Wednesday at the Lyric Theater, a showcase featured the works of late Overtown artist Purvis Young, the self-taught talent who gained a national celebrity following with his urban images. The historic theater will also be the venue when the Black Archives features the works of South Florida visual artists in the lobby from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Sunday. The gallery will include art from JaFleu, Mariah Fox, George Gadson, Sim Malden, Michael McLaren, Shernett Muhammad, Bennie Osborne and Johanne Rahaman.
One of the most anticipated artists to be featured at Soul of Basel is Nakazzi Hutchinson, who goes by her first name. Its meaning, “woman of substance,” is exemplified in her diverse, highly acclaimed body of work. A graduate of the Sculpture department at the Jamaica School of Art, Nakazzi considers herself primarily a sculptor but her work also includes charcoal drawings, paintings, batiks, murals, mosaics, and ceramics.
Widely known for her hand painted, life-like ceramic masks that celebrate Caribbean hairstyles with her use of natural material, Nakazzi is the youngest artist to be honored in both the public and juried awards with The Mutual Life Artist of the Year award in 2001. Also, one of her life sized sculptors is a part of the permanent collection of The Jamaican National Gallery.
“This year’s effort continues to sustain the dynamic discourse of the AAMAF narrative and artistic strands of Black and Caribbean culture revolution,” said Hall, who is also CEO of the Midtown-based Urban Collective, “a sustainable lifestyle design brand driven by a passion for innovative design, art and cultural exchange with partnering skilled artisans in developing countries.”
Besides diversifying Art Basel, The Urban Collective is credited by many with an awakening synergy within the urban art community that is reflected in the emergence of art fairs like Prizm, Kroma, Fuwon Mia, Global Caribbean and Multitudes.
In collaboration with City of Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon, Southeast Overtown Parkwest Community Redevelopment Agency and the Black Archives, this year’s AAMAF runs 8 to 10 p.m. through Sunday. Admission to the gallery is free.
For more information, please visit artafricamiamifair.com.
Thursday Dec. 4
Art & Design | All Day
Experience the unique design objects from master designer Michael O in TheUrbanCollective Gallery
Friday Dec. 5
Art & Jazz | 5:30pm to 7pm | Public
Grove to the soulful sounds of Gregory Ledon & Miami Jazz whose sound is rooted in the tradition of Miles Davis
Artist and community dialogue with the Nobodies outside the margin. Panel discussion on the policies of representation: Art, Poverty, Ideas and Vision moderated by celebrated author, scholar and Professor Dr. Carol Boyce Davis (book signing to follow)
Soul Basel Farewell Brunch powered by TheUrbanCollective | 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Hosted by Robbie Bell, Carla Hill, Dorothy Fields
Invitation only. Partial proceeds to go to Overtown Children and Youth Coalition. Limited tickets available, $50 per ticket.