Blak in the U.S.A. (and Other Places)

Artists examine global racism with photos, portraits, and illustrations.

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Racial injustice rears its bigoted head tonight for the opening reception of Blakxtraploitationism: A Visual, Social, Political, Racial Interpretation at Asterisk Gallery. The exhibit of sculptures, paintings, and digital photography is designed to debunk myths and stereotypes behind the word black in all walks of life. "The art tackles social issues, from politics and the war to diseases and the economy," says Julius Lyles, the exhibit's curator. "It's going to be a pretty phenomenal show."The 50-piece collection shines a spotlight on 11 Cleveland-area artists, including Tracy Amenn, Ronald D. Clayton, and An'Angelia Thompson. There are also pieces by Devlin Culliver, Tericka Lynnette Henderson, and Linda Herman. Retired Tri-C art-history professor Richard Karberg has contributed a set of photos he snapped in the Darfur region of Sudan in 1972. And one of the most "dynamic" parts of the exhibit is another array of pictures shot by marine Frank Xavier Weiss, who's on his second tour of duty in Iraq. While stationed there, he's captured images of Iraqi civilians on film. "His idea was, 'Why are we going over there to kill these people?' They are America's new target of racial profiling and racial identity. But they're just like everybody else. These people are everyday Joes, and they have absolutely nothing to do with the politics behind the war. They're victims of the environment and circumstance," says Lyles. "Why would we even think that these people are terrorists?" The exhibit's opening reception is from 6 to 10 tonight. The show will remain on display by appointment through Saturday, May 3, at Asterisk Gallery, 2393 Professor Avenue in Tremont. Admission is free. Call 216-304-0528 or visit
Fri., April 11, 6-10 p.m., 2008

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