The Collective, an organization with a mission to cultivate and inspire creativity and provide a platform for African American artists in Memphis, is holding an event at Orange Mound Gallery to present their latest exhibition, THUG: An Exploration of Black Masculinity.
This showcase will feature works by local Memphis artists, Rahn Marion, Eso Tolson, Kenneth Alexander, Terry Lynn, Lawrence Matthews and will be curated by Ziggy Mack.
Lawrence Matthews, a local Memphis artist who will also take part in the event, shares the purpose for the exhibition.
“The purpose of this exhibition is to allow black male artists of all different types and backgrounds to explore the idea of masculinity in whatever way that means to them personally. Within the black community many of us are raised under crushing hypermasculinity and really never get to express any healthy emotion or challenge some of the ideas placed on us about what being a man is. You have to be strong all the time. You have to be tough, fearless and straight and if you don’t fit these roles you’re somehow considered being less of a man. We want to have an exhibition allowing black men to be vulnerable, and to be themselves, in whatever form that manifests into. Black men aren’t a monolith or the stereotypical ideas that have been placed on us by society. Black men are humans that feel pain, suffer from traumas, mental illnesses and have fears, but are also strong, loving, resilient and passionate people. The purpose of this exhibition is to give that narrative a platform.”