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Saturday, April 4, 2009

UCONN Art Exhibition Stamford Connecticut

Stamford art show honors Black History Month
Posted on 02/16/2009
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Stamford art show honors Black History Month



Hour Staff Writer

A Stamford art show and new children's book focus on the family in celebration of Black History Month. Four visual artists whose works represent various transitions in people's lives submitted paintings and installations to "The 3rd Eye: A Study in Transition." The show opened Thursday and works will be on display at the University of Connecticut Stamford Art Gallery, 1 University Place, Washington Boulevard, through this month.

The show features mixed media, photography, fiber art, painting and sculpture by Barry Mason, Natalie Alleyne, Jerry Craft and Margo Candelario.

Also, Craft and Candelario have produced a children's book to be distributed by Simon & Schuster beginning this month. "Looking to the Clouds for Daddy" documents a family's experience with a particularly painful transition: the death of a father. Candelario wrote the book, and Craft illustrated it using a combination of photography and pen and ink drawing.

Candelario chose the works and location for "The 3rd Eye." She explained that to fulfill the theme of life transition Mason and Alleyne portrayed "the newlywed" through their pieces, Craft "the family man" and herself "the widow."

Candelario and Craft are both intimately familiar with their subject roles. A Norwalk resident, husband and father of two, Craft also draws "Mama's Boyz," a comic strip portraying a family of two boys and their single mother.

When she was still pregnant with their third daughter, Candelario's husband, Phil, died of a heart attack in 1996 at the age of 34. She wrote the book almost 10 years ago, when her daughters were still very young.

On Friday, Cheyenne, 17, Camaryan, 14, and Trae, 12, helped unpack the first boxes of the book's first edition at Craft's Harriet Street home, sniffling as they handled the tangible completion of their mother's artistic goal.

"In many ways, I documented their grief as a means of not dealing with my own. It was much easier to watch what they were doing," Candelario said. "I didn't want them to have psychological repercussions from this. I didn't want them to have to go to therapy. I couldn't wallow in my grief. I had three children to raise."

One installation she created for "The 3rd Eye," Candelario said, features eyeglasses, a wallet and other personal belongings of her husband which she kept in a canister for her daughters to view periodically. Another piece, a series of photographs, captures the changes in porchlight during different times of the day and night. Because her husband was a correctional officer and frequently worked nights, she and her oldest daughter would customarily "leave the light on for Daddy," she said.

According to Craft and Candelario, the book, like the show, fills a niche, making publicly visible common and universal experiences of love, tenderness, sorrow and grief not singularly from the perspective of a black family but inclusive of that perspective.

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I have been honored to be able to view Margo Candelario's wonderful paintings for the last couple of years. She is blessed with an insight into her heritage and people's psyche which is often reflected in her work. The book that she and the talented illustrator Jerry Craft have produced is nothing short of genius. To tackle a complex and emotional subject in such a novel way presents a product that can help many grieving families over that tragic hurtle. Helping her family deal with the loss of her husband and her childrens' father created a means to help many others too. Kudos to Margo and her fellow artists.

Posted by: Peter Muzyka | Feb 20, 2009

I know Margo as a rug hooker, what a delightful person and know her show was great. Pris in Georgia

Posted by: anonymous | Feb 21, 2009