Seeing Ourselves Reflected

Imani White is an International Relations & Global Studies senior with a concentration in African Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. In her own words, she discusses the need for spaces like the Christian-Green Gallery.

The Christian-Green Gallery is a very unique space for me. Before I began working as an attendant, I wasn’t even aware of its existence. I remember the first time I stepped foot in the gallery, I was met with the bright pink, flamingo wallpaper of a bathroom that looked so similar to my mother’s bathroom, my grandmother’s bathroom. Blue magic hair conditioner, black soap, Vaseline, and shea butter were all staples of my own childhood. I was looking at Genevieve Gaignard’s exhibit In Passing, and it was one of the few times I saw my Blackness reflected in artwork. was one of the few times I saw my Blackness reflected in artwork.

After In Passing, the gallery hosted an exhibit titled Charles White and the Legacy of the Figure: Celebrating the Gordon Gift, showcasing pieces by Charles White’s students and the master draftsman himself. At this point, it was my second semester working in the gallery and I was learning something new every day. I learned that White’s technique was on par with, or in many ways, superior to that of Leonardo da Vinci. I learned about different techniques he used such as lithography and etching—concepts I have never encountered as an International Relations and Global Studies major.

Although I’m not an artist, working in the Christian-Green Gallery has affected how I approach and conceptualize art. No matter what my future holds, I want to art to be a part of it in some capacity, whether that means acting as an educator (shoutout Kendyll!), curator, or observer. I have to thank the Christian-Green Gallery for nourishing my appreciation for art, specifically Black art. And I feel honored to be able to continue to contribute digitally during these unprecedented times.