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New exhibit aspires to restore faith in humanity

The Richland Library has a new exhibit which aspires to restore faith in humanity.

The exhibit, “Ba Akhu: A New Path,” by artist Baba Seitu Amenwahsu features about 20 grand-sized pieces of mixed-media art. Each piece has multiple patterns, and they are layered with different shapes, figures, forms and colors.

Amenwahsu was born in Columbia, though his art draws heavily on his African heritage. He spent more than three decades as an educator, teaching art at schools in the Sumter area, Caughman Road Elementary School, and moonlighting as an adjunct professor at Allen University of Art. He retired in June 2018 to focus on his art.

In his latest exhibit, Amenwahsu draws from his ancestral inspiration and expresses his faith in humanity and power in the universe.

“The artwork is spiritually and musically interwoven to produce a rhythmic healing and audio sensation in the eyes of emotions of the viewer,” he said.

The exhibit is on display through Sept. 1 in The Gallery at Richland Library Main, 1431 Assembly St.

Q. How did you get started as an artist?

A. I got started as an artist in high school under the guidance of my beloved art teacher Mr. George Traylor. Under his leadership, I won third place in the Columbia Urban League Black History Month art contest. I painted my first acrylic painting of Frederick Douglass in 1976. I am still in possession of that art work.

I furthered my studies at Spartanburg Methodist College in art for two years, then transferring to the University of South Carolina and earning a degree in art studio. I got my art education certification at Benedict College shortly thereafter.

Q. Tell us about your journey to becoming a healer.

A. In my study of African art, I learned that art is not separated from spirituality and ritual healing. Art is made to address matters of the spirit. So my artwork reflects those concerns.

In my growth and development, I became a spiritual healer and mystic through art and music. I later became an African priest and energy healer, serving my people in particular and humanity in general. I have been a spiritual energy healer for at least 30 years now.

Q. Do you believe your art brings healing?

A. Art brings healing through a variety of techniques. One technique involves prayers of divine empowerment and thanksgiving where the materials taken from the earth are blessed. In the African tradition, one must ask God’s permission to take from creation in order to create art in God’s and the Ancestors honor.

We venerate our African ancestors in order to bring about spiritual cleansing, rites of passage, honoring the past, healing the sick both individually and communally. In that process of creating art, we ritually activate or install the artwork for the spiritual energy and powers to come into the art form to assist in the healing process for those who it is the intended recipient. Once the healing is completed, the artist and or spiritual ritualist does a ceremonial act to deactivate the art form when it is no longer needed.

Q. How do you want people to feel after experiencing your latest exhibit?

A. In this art exhibition, “Ba Akhu: A New Path,” I want people to feel inspired to dig deep into their own subconscious, the inner recesses of their minds and hearts to bring to the surface of their understanding of themselves and the reality that their true identity and nature is.

If you go

“Ba Akhu: A New Path”

When: Through Sept. 1

Where: The Gallery at Richland Library, 1431 Assembly St.

Details: www.richlandlibrary.com

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