Black History Month celebrations closed with an in-person reception at the CSUN West Gallery on Saturday, Feb. 26. Student artists, faculty and administrators attended the last day of “The Black Joy and Liberation Art Exhibit,” which opened Feb. 14. The show featured the works of ten student artists, whose featured pieces included oil and acrylic paintings, ink drawings and multimedia works. The Director of The Black House, Dominique Moye said the artists were challenged to create a theme of empowerment through joy.

“It is the idea that Black people deserve to be happy,” she said. “In spite of all the challenges, of all the things we know that have been barriers, we deserve to laugh and be happy. The artists really showcased what that looked like very well in this exhibit.”

After nearly two years of virtual events, the in-person reception was a welcome change for many attendees.

Sheila Alcibar, a senior animation major, whose work was featured in the exhibit, said she was happy to be back on campus.

“Human interaction is very important. To be able to see art in person makes a big difference. You’re able to see textures and layers,” she said. Alcibar’s chosen piece was a painting of the late fashion designer Virgil Abloh.

“It’s part of the theme of Black liberation and joy,” Alcibar said. “Because thanks to him, many doors were opened for the African American community.”

Tyler Brown, a junior art illustration major, had two ink portraits featured. “This is the first exhibit that I’ve ever been in. I was super excited when I got in,” they said. Brown said it was good to be on campus. “It feels like I am part of the school, finally, after the last few years of being online.”

CSUN President Erika D. Beck was among many members of the administration and faculty who attended the event. She toured the exhibit, talked with students and admired the artwork.

“There’s nothing like community in real life, and the students are just so excited and delighted to be together,” she said. “I’m just so glad to have everybody back together and have the vibrancy of our academic community again.”

The Black House mission is to celebrate the Black and African American culture, to foster student learning and achievement. Moye said she’d like the student art exhibit to become a regular feature of The Black House celebrations for Black History Month.

The other student artists featured in the exhibit included Elizabeth Souza, Andrea Velador, Maryam Vakili, Nayani Ramirez, Jasmin Behmanesh, Riley Polek-Davis, Francis Robateau and Melora Garcia.

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