Photograph above: Film Still - Candice Davis
The black barbershop is much more than a place to get a fade.
Artist CRICE Kahlil, the curator of a new exhibit called “The Shop,” argues that its no less than “a microcosm of the African-American experience.”
CRICE Kahlil, a.k.a. Connor Rice, has been making art about the barbershop since he was a student at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where he graduated three years ago. "It's really important to talk about these places that black people have in a white society," he said by phone this week, "the spaces we've carved out for ourselves."
The pop-up show opening July 1 at Public Functionary uses paintings and screen prints, illustrations and digital art to grapple with the complicated history of black barbershops, the intimacy of a haircut and the power of a gathering place. It also presents black hair -- politicized throughout history -- as a symbol of pride, Rice said.
Rice, 24, nabbed a $7,000 grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board for the show, which spotlights eight black artists. He wanted to include those at both early and established points in their artistic careers, including Emma Eubanks, a student at MCAD, and Seitu Jones, whose dozens of large-scale works dot public spaces across the Twin Cities.
No matter their age, the artists shared similar stories of going to the barbershop as kids, said Rice. "It's crazy... from the youngest to the oldest, they're saying the same things," he said. "I was just talking to Seitu today and some of the stuff he was talking about could have happened at my barbershop.
"The more things change, the more they stay the same, for better or worse."
Opening reception for "The Shop": 7 p.m. Saturday, July 1 at Public Functionary, 1400 12th Ave NE, Minneapolis