CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea (Feb. 23, 2022) – Students at the U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys Smith Middle School and Teen Center participated in a Black history art exhibition Feb. 18, 2022.
The art exhibition was a creative way for the students to set their differences aside and learn about Black history.
“Actually, this is our first black history art exhibit,” said Alexandra Harris, interim program director for the Smith Middle School and Teen Center, also known as the youth center. “The youth, they drew a lot of these pictures. We also created a power point with black actors, black athletes, and black inventors to play in the background, so onlookers could read their bios.”
Keaira Richardson, an eleventh grade student at Humphreys High School and the youth center’s Keystone Club president, said the students wanted to do something fun and decided on the art exhibition as a way to pay tribute to the Black change makers in the U.S., both past and present.
“I thought the exhibit was great, not only because of the beautiful art pieces on display, but also because of the diversity in the kids that provided the art work,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Benjamin Lemon, the USAG Humphreys senior enlisted advisor. “It was the epitome of what observing Black History Month is about, providing the ability for others outside the African American community to learn about and appreciate the contributions African Americans have made towards the betterment of the United States. The more we learn about each other, the more empathy and understanding we gain.”
Madam C.J. Walker, Martin Luther King Jr. and Frederick Douglass posters hung on the exhibit walls with biographies and affirming words from the iconic Black history figures. Renditions of a black power fist, Black Lives Matter paintings, and other abstract art were displayed across the tabletops.
The exhibition included paintings and drawings created by students from Humphreys Middle School and Humphreys High School.
Jimmy Scoggin, a youth program assistant at the youth center, explained the Keystone Club members – ninth through twelfth grade students – encouraged the middle school students to paint and draw by telling them their work would be part of the art exhibit.
“The middle schoolers were in the art center everyday painting something,” said Scoggin.
Julia and Lilian McCants, ninth grade students at Humphreys High School, highlighted the drawing of a woman’s profile with a beautiful headdress created from the words “Black History Month.” Each letter glistened with black, red, yellow, or green flecks.
“The person who did the art work is Lilian McCants,” gushed her twin Julia, as she explained the inspiration behind the artwork. “We were looking for art pieces to do for Black history, and this one kind of stood out to us both. We thought it would be kind of cool to try and interpret it our own way and make it look cool for other people to view.”
Camp Humphreys students and community members walked through the exhibition, admiring the beautiful displays of black culture, discussing what the artists were trying to convey, and learning a little history in the process.