By George Kevin Jordan, Special to the AFRO

To understand the power of portraiture, one needs only look at the recent works by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald of former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, now at the National Portrait Museum. Both paintings became a part of the national conversation about art, politics and Blackness.

Jarvis DuBois, a D.C. resident, and local curator, along with co-curator Gia Harewood, want to continue that important conversation about portraiture with an exhibit and talkback of their own called Face Forward,  2 to 4 p.m., Oct. 13 at the Carroll Square Gallery, 975 F Street N.W.

Curators of Face Forward Exhibit Gia Harewood and Jarvis DuBois. (Photo by George Kevin Jordan)

“I’ve been thinking for a year about putting a show together around portraiture the figurative arts in general,” DuBois said in an interview. “And I thought this space was ideal for my first show.”

The talkback will allow several artists in the exhibit to discuss their work and motivations, DuBois said. Guest artists will include Michael A. Booker, Ricky Day, Jessica Hopkins, Kyle Hackett, David Ibata and Wayson Jones.

The exhibit features 16 artists, 10 from D.C. and six from New York. DuBois said he labored about who to pick from all the talent in the area.

Image Info: “I Count My Blessings With an Abacus”; Fineliner Pen and Copic Marker on Paper; 30″ in diameter; 2018. (Photo Provided by Artist: Michael A. Booker)

“I thought about local artists who do that kind of working in very exciting dynamic way and not just photorealistic portraits,” DuBois said. “I wanted to showcase different techniques, different styles different approaches to the human figure.”

DuBois, who focuses on African-American contemporary art wanted a diverse offering of artists for the exhibit and talkback. He said the recent closing of some Black owned galleries has made it challenging to see artists. “But I’m hoping to change that and be a conduit,” Dubois said.

Michael A. Booker, a 33 year old Maryland resident and Fineliner Pens artist, said he was excited about the opportunity to unpack his work for an audience.

“I always like doing artist talks because it gives me a chance express my thoughts making the work with others, and engage in a dialogue” Booker said. “Being in the studio working on a piece, a lot of different thoughts and ideas are running through your head.  It can be a very solo experience, and an artist talk helps you work out some of those ideas with other people.”

For Booker doing portraiture allows for many things, but representation is one of the most important things.

“Portraiture, just like many forms of art, provides the opportunity to encapsulate a reflection of our time,” Booker said. “Even though my portraits normally don’t feature the full face, I want to show positive images of people of color,  represent their goals, their dreams, their spiritual and cultural connections, and realizations of potential.

The exhibit runs until Dec. 7 at the Carroll Square Gallery. This event is free and open to the public.