New exhibit highlights Black artist perspective

SAN ANTONIO — Angela Weddle has been creating art since she was 3 years old.

“I’m drawing this set of oak trees right in front of me,” Weddle, a visual artist, said. “I could never climb them and kind of do those things. But drawing them makes me feel some of that connection.”

She always knew art was her calling, and didn’t lean into limitations that came with being autistic.

“What I did not know was I wasn’t’ supposed to be able to draw at all,” Weddle said. “Because of cerebral palsy, undiagnosed right hemisphere brain damage, which affects your motor skills.”

Angela hasn’t let her disabilities stop her creativity. Her work is being featured at the Culture Commons Gallery in San Antonio. The exhibit is called “Between Yesterday and Tomorrow” — perspectives from Black contemporary artist.

“Really dedicate this space to telling the stories of artist whose voices may not have had a space to be told,” said Krystal Jones, director of San Antonio’s Department of Arts and Culture.

Jones says these art pieces focus on identity, family and Black history.

“If we don’t study it, if we don’t learn it. If we don’t share, it won’t get passed on,” said fiber artist Deborah More Harris.

The exhibit acknowledges the past and commits to include Black artists’ perspectives in the future.

“It’s really unique. We have so many talented Black artists here in San Antonio,” Jones said. “But these are talented artist, period.”

In a survey of U.S. museums between 2008 and 2020, Black artists’ work was included in about 6% of exhibits.

“There’s so much diversity in Black art, it’s just that we don’t get to see enough of it,” visual artist Alethia Jones said.

“I think it’s easy to let the predominate view in academia and artwork kind of speak for all artists,” Weddle said. “But by doing that, it was ignoring a whole set of artists.”

Although Black artists are underrepresented across the country, these artists say it’s priceless to lay the foundation for the next wave of minority artists in San Antonio.

“I wish I’d seen more Black artist when I was a kid,” visual artist Edward Harris said. “Representation is very important. If you don’t see or hear stories about people in general, you miss out.”

For Weddle, it’s beautiful to see multiple generations and styles represented.

“You can’t wait on someone to tell your story forever,” Weddle said. “You have to take control of your story.”

The “Between Yesterday and Tomorrow” exhibit runs through November at the Culture Commons Gallery in downtown San Antonio.