kwanzaaitems.jpgMIAMI — The Annual Kwanzaa Art Exhibition opened this week in celebration of Kwanzaa. The exhibit, organized by the Kuumba Artists Collective of South Florida, takes place at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center in Liberty City.

The exhibit, on display from now until Jan. 18, features the recent works of 15 Florida African World artists.

The event, according to Kuumba Arts Collective member Gene Tinnie, is more than 20 years old.

“We’ve had exhibits here since 1975, but this is the third year for the Kwanzaa exhibit,” he said.

In Broward, the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center near Fort Lauderdale will present “Celebrating Kwanzaa,’’ a networking reception, art exhibit and program on Friday, Dec. 26.

Immediately following the reception, the documentary, The Black Candle, A Kwanzaa Celebration, narrated by Maya Angelou, will be shown.

“It’s the first documentary on Kwanzaa,” M.K. Asante, Jr., the film’s producer said. “In it, we use Kwanzaa as a vehicle to celebrate the African-American experience.”

In the Liberty City exhibit, the works on display include photography, paintings, digital arts, 3-D art and sculptures.

Tinnie’s semi-abstract pencil drawing, Resurrection, is also on display.

All works displayed are for sale, according to Altiné X, a member of the artists collective and the event’s organizer.

“We encourage people to buy black during Kwanzaa,’’ she said. “And honoring the nguzo saba (seven principals of Kwanzaa), all the artwork here is handmade.”

Sculptures and digital prints created by artists collective member Robert McKnight are also on exhibit. The Miami resident is best known for his public mural at 79th Street and Seventh Avenue in Liberty City.

McKnight also has a mosaic mural and digital banner on display at the Little Haiti Cultural Center.

With Muddy Waters as a prominent figure in the Liberty City mural, McKnight, 58, described it as a “tribute to jazz and blues musicians, and those influenced by him [Waters]. The Rolling Stones loved his work so much that they named their band from lyrics in his songs.”

After graduating from Syracuse University where he studied art in the early 70s, McKnight returned to Miami and began frequenting night clubs that were, during that time, active in the 79th Street area.

“It was a well-known hub [79th Street] for entertainment,” he said, “the place for jazz and blues and those who loved it. I spent a lot of time there before the area began to decline. So painting the mural was a dedication to an era.”