Visual artist and educator Dr. Imo Nse Imeh will present 17 Years Boy: Epilogue, an extraordinary collection of new works that are part of a yearlong project highlighting the issue of the subjugation of Black boys in America. The exhibition opens on Friday, February 8 and runs through Friday March 15 at Readywipe Gallery in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The gallery will host a special Opening Reception with the artist on Friday, February 8, which is free and open to the public.

The exhibition is the culmination of a project that Dr. Imeh started last year on the campus of Westfield State University, in response to an unsettling rash of racially charged incidents. Dr. Imeh staged a unique time-based live painting and multimedia performance that revisited the controversial death of Trayvon Martin. Over a 17-hour period, Dr. Imeh painted a large-scale portrait of the teenager, which was then ceremoniously destroyed in the final hour of the performance—an allusion to Trayvon Martin’s 17 years of life, and untimely death.

Now, one year later, Dr. Imeh unveils the final act of this performance—17 new works of art, each one created with pieces of the original, destroyed canvas.

“To me, this new body of work symbolizes the challenging, yet beautiful, journey down the path of healing, to transform the horror of unspeakable tragedy into a renewed sense of life and celebration,” Dr. Imeh states. “I wanted to make something new. I wanted it to be reflective of a dark past, but also hopeful for the future. It needed to be about healing and the celebration of Black boys.”

Dr. Imeh’s new art collection features an all-male cast of Black subjects, in the form of portraits and figural studies that locate Black boys and men in The Dreamscape, assuming the roles of angels and monarchs. It features video and audio installations that accompany the artwork to create an atmosphere of memory and restoration.

Visual artist and educator Dr. Imo Nse Imeh will present 17 Years Boy: Epilogue, an extraordinary collection of new works that are part of a yearlong project highlighting the issue of the subjugation of Black boys in America. The exhibition opens on Friday, February 8 and runs through Friday March 15 at Readywipe Gallery in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The gallery will host a special Opening Reception with the artist on Friday, February 8, which is free and open to the public.

The exhibition is the culmination of a project that Dr. Imeh started last year on the campus of Westfield State University, in response to an unsettling rash of racially charged incidents. Dr. Imeh staged a unique time-based live painting and multimedia performance that revisited the controversial death of Trayvon Martin. Over a 17-hour period, Dr. Imeh painted a large-scale portrait of the teenager, which was then ceremoniously destroyed in the final hour of the performance—an allusion to Trayvon Martin’s 17 years of life, and untimely death.

Now, one year later, Dr. Imeh unveils the final act of this performance—17 new works of art, each one created with pieces of the original, destroyed canvas.

“To me, this new body of work symbolizes the challenging, yet beautiful, journey down the path of healing, to transform the horror of unspeakable tragedy into a renewed sense of life and celebration,” Dr. Imeh states. “I wanted to make something new. I wanted it to be reflective of a dark past, but also hopeful for the future. It needed to be about healing and the celebration of Black boys.”

Dr. Imeh’s new art collection features an all-male cast of Black subjects, in the form of portraits and figural studies that locate Black boys and men in The Dreamscape, assuming the roles of angels and monarchs. It features video and audio installations that accompany the artwork to create an atmosphere of memory and restoration.