By Reuben Greene,
Special to the AFRO

In honor of Women’s History Month, painter Anson Asaka recently debuted his latest exhibition, “The Black Queen In All Of Her Splendor and Glory,” with an opening reception at Katsea Gallery on West Pennsylvania Avenue in Towson, Md. The exhibit features a stunning collection of portraits that highlight the beauty and strength of Black women.

“It’s about celebrating Black women during Women’s History Month and recognizing them in all areas of life whether it be in the industries of entertainment, law, politics, science and in any other field you can imagine,” said Asaka. 

The opening reception, hosted by Kay Lawal-Muhammad, featured readings by poet Rebecca Dupas, a performance by praise dancer Donnette Edmonds, music by K. Holloway and a performance by The Storage Unit Fusion Collective.

Anson was born in Detroit, Mich. where he said he was exposed to art at a very young age. 

“I am self-taught and have no formal training. Art has been a part of my life since I can remember,” said the artist. 

Asaka credits his mother with inspiring him to attend Howard University, where he earned an undergraduate degree in political science. He went on to earn a law degree from Rutgers Law School in 1996 and then became a senior associate general counsel for the NAACP.

Still, art continued to play a key role in his life. 

“I was inspired when I traveled to Paris and saw all these images of white women celebrated and elevated,” he said. “I wondered to myself, ‘Where are the museums and exhibits dedicated to the excellence of our Black women?’ In society, we see Black women objectified by pop culture and sometimes limited to their sexual image. I wanted to showcase their courage and all of their facets.”

“The Black Queen” is a culmination of Asaka’s artistic journey, showcasing his view of the beauty and diversity of Black women. His exhibit features images of Vice President Kamala Harris, Supreme Court Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis. He also singled out local luminaries Erricka Bridgeford, of the Baltimore Peace Movement, and Tawanda Jones, sister of 2013 police shooting victim Tyrone West. Each painting is an exquisite expression of Black femininity, highlighting the strength and resilience of these women in the face of systemic oppression and discrimination.

“We have to recognize and celebrate our own, because If we don’t… who will?” Asaka said. “It’s also important to me that young girls like my daughter see the brilliance of Black women uplifted.”

The exhibition, “The Black Queen In All Of Her Splendor and Glory,” will be open to the public until March 31. To view more of Anson Asaka’s online portfolio search @the_asaka_gallery on Instagram.

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