M3: MC's, Mics, and Metaphors
By Erin L. Berry
M3: MC's Mics & Metaphors is an exhibition presented by Bowie State's own professor Tewodross Melchishua who not only curated the event, but also participated as an artist in the exhibit as well. The M3 exhibit explores the creative power of the lyricism and poetry of hip-hop music through visual imagery. Prof. Melchishua who is no stranger to art nor Hip-Hop for that matter, had this to say about the exhibit,
"I created the concept for this show, after years of listening to hip-hop music, and specifically the immense creativity of the MC, in his or her use of words, similes, metaphors and symbols. I began to see what MCs were saying in their rhymes, and asked myself, ‘What if the lyrics and language of hip-hop were represented through visual art and design?'" he said.
"My original idea was to have a solo show, but then I decided this would more interesting to invite other visual artists to be apart of this exhibition, and to have a group show in which all of us could explore this theme through a visual and improvisational, freestyle, art session, just like a real, live hip-hop performance music imitates life, art imitates music," Melchishua added.
The exhibition, which ran from July 23 to Aug. 29, took place at the Gallery at Flashpoint in Washington, D.C. and gathered a group of emerging artists from around the country, with each responding to the theme of the MC (Emcee, or Master of Ceremonies) or simply a favorite Hip-Hop lyric or song. The visual artists who contributed work to this project submitted work in a variety of forms, including: photography, mixed media, canvas and easel painting, fashion design, installation and video animation.
Artists that contributed to the event were all diverse in their visual epithets for highlighting the role that Hip-Hop played in their lives, while some artists chose to focus on their favorite MC, or group, others chose to shed light on the founding components of Hip-Hop or a verse from a song that resonated with them in some way.
Artists featured in the exhibit were: Derrick (Benetez) Bryant, Damani K. Diop (Reality), Dissident Display (Adrian Loving & Ayo Okunseinde), Jabari-Hall-Smith, Jeff Henriquez, Ann (Sole Sister) Johnson, Hasaan Kirkland, Jati Lindsay, Jeff McCauley, Tewodross Melchishua, Ribqah, Darian Robbins, Kamaria Selam (Crystal Graham), Marcel Taylor, upfromsumdirt(Ron Davis), and Carmen Webber, Sistahs of Harlem (SOH).
The exhibit in itself not only embodied the epitome of the Hip-Hop culture, but brings different viewpoints as the demographic lines change.
At the grand opening quite a crowd gathered to take first glance at the art that was being displayed. Though the crowd was mixed with a representation from all walks of life, it resembled a space of artistic euphoria where each artist's work stood ground on their own two feet giving the viewers so much more than an eye full. But, if you missed the exhibit, don't worry because this exhibit is not only a traveling exhibit, but it is community-based and progressively pursues the focus on the unending dialogue between artists, visitors and youth as well as every generation of the Hip-Hop Lover.