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Harvard Hosts Seminars on Black Art

Artists Cite Black 'Consciousness'

By Steven M. Heller

"Black art involves a world-wide African consciousness," artist Charles Searles said yesterday to open the first of four seminars on black art at Harvard.

The seminars have been scheduled in conjunction with a week-long exhibition of the paintings of ten contemporary black artists at the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists in Dorchester.

Major participating artists include Americans Charles White and Ernest Crichlow and Nigeria's Z.K. Olorumtoba.

Promotes 'Common Consciousness'

Edmund B. Gaither, lecturer on Afro-American Studies and organizer of the seminars and exhibition, said yesterday the purpose of the event is to "give black artists the opportunity to speak for themselves."

"I think the dialogue created in these seminars will suggest the existence of what I believe to be a common consciousness among blacks and black artists all over the world," Gaither added.

Ewart Guinier '33, chairman of the Afro-American Studies Department, said yesterday this is the first time in history that painters from Africa, the West Indies, and the United States have jointly exhibited their works.

Imperialism Blocks Art

"Black people for the past five centuries have been struggling to know, interpret and transmit their heritage to themselves and others. This attempt has been frustrated by a sort of cultural imperialism of the Western societies," Guinier added.

"The spiritualism in black people has always been there; it's just now being revived," Searles said. "Blacks are saying 'Give me color, give me movement, give me feeling, give me truth.'"

Dana Chandler, professor of Art at Simmons College and Northeastern University, said at the seminar, "We want to see what we're about, to discover us. The spirit is within us again."

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