This year, our 10X10 Exhibit’s theme is on Identity. This theme is intended to encourage discourse in the classroom about diversity, heritage, and place-based identity using a variety of artistic methods. The 10X10 will provide a platform for students and teachers to share who they are or help give voice to individuals whom they identify with while using art as a tool for exploring those complex ideas and perceptions about oneself.
One way that we are exploring Identity is through the lens of local Baltimore artists who are making work that deals with Identity in a variety of ways. Our first artist that we are highlighting is LaToya Hobbs. LaToya’s work, according to her artist bio, “deals with figurative imagery that addresses the ideas of beauty and cultural identity while reexamining the traditional triadic artist, model, viewer, relationship.” She recently had a solo exhibit at City Hall titled, Salt of the Earth II: Latoya Hobbs curated by City Hall Curator Kirk Shannon-Butts.
From LaToya Hobbs about her body of work:
“Visual images influence the psychological frame work upon which identity is established; particularly the images that one sees of those that are representative of their community. With this sensitivity to the importance of visual images in mind, I use portraits to explore the intersection of race, beauty and identity concerning women of African descent. My work facilitates an ongoing dialog about the Black Female Body in hopes to produce a more balanced perception of Black womanhood that dismantles prevailing stereotypes. Consequently, my work, serves as a platform that enables its subject(s) to engage in a visual dialogue with the viewer.
In addition to painting, relief printmaking encompasses a significant part of my practice. The act of cutting away from my matrix (the surface of the wood or linoleum block) to shape an image is synonymous with the way one has to cut away negative ideologies imposed on them by others to expose or embrace their true selves. In this same sense, Black women have had to cut away the negative stereotypes imposed on them by external forces to express their true identity.
My most recent developing series, Salt of the Earth, inspired by the biblical scripture Mathew 5:13, explores the personification of women as salt and their function as preservers of family, culture and community. In thinking about women as “preservers” in service to others I want to highlight the importance of self-preservation and examine how Black women engage in acts self-care or the lack thereof. Another underlying theme of this work is that of the “Modern Matriarch”. The works in this series chronicle women who function as traditional and non-traditional “Matriarchs” in their communities; some having birthed physical children while others have birthed ideas and communities. As this ongoing series continues to expand I will develop narrative portraits that give glimpses into the everyday trials and triumphs associated with Black womanhood with an emphasis on matriarchy and self-care.”
To learn more about LaToya Hobbs and her work: