Bakersfield Art Association hosts “Black Is Beautiful” art exhibit


Charr Davenport

Artist Victoria Porter poses in front of her “Black Is Beautiful” art collection at the Bakersfield Art Association.

Charr Davenport, Reporter

The Bakersfield Art Association hosted the “Black Is Beautiful” art exhibition during Bakersfield’s annual First Friday Artwalk on Sept. 7. The exhibition featured artist Victoria Porter, wife of Grammy award-winning jazz musician Gregory Porter, as the main artist.

Victoria Porter was born in Russia, where she started her art career. She attended a four-year school, in which she completed and received a degree in only two years. After her family was unable to afford her stay at art school, she gave up painting for fifteen years and instead turned to literature. It wasn’t until she moved to Brooklyn that she started painting once more, only this time she used people of color as her inspiration.

“I was the seventh white person in the community,” she explained. “I fell in love with the togetherness. With how they treated each other.”

She continued to talk about how beautiful everyone in Brooklyn was and how well they treated her before mentioning her original inspiration.

“I started off painting children. In Russia, we don’t have black people. When I first saw the children, I fell in love with their hair and skin. It was all so beautiful.”

Porter then addressed the main thesis of her exhibit. “I love the Black Is Beautiful movement of the 60s. I think it truly captured how amazing and smart black people are.”

She continued to speak about how riveting the movement was before explaining her opinions on black people in the media today.

Charr Davenport
Artist Victoria Porter (right) and her husband, Grammy Award winning musician Gregory Porter (left), standing in front of her “Black Is Beautiful” collection.

“I don’t like hip-hop,” said Porter. “I don’t believe it captures everyone’s beauty and instead focusses on only one type of person.” She explained that the Black Is Beautiful movement and her exhibit tried to capture the beauty in every black person and the uniqueness of everyone.

The attendees at the exhibit seemed pleased with her work.

“The exhibit is really beautiful,” said Jabari Sekoz, a bongo player from Sacramento. “I love the uniqueness and how the art incorporates jazz to make its own [picture].”

Porter’s Black Is Beautiful collection will be featured in the Bakersfield Art Association’s Art Center throughout September.