Artist's work inspired by SudaneseBy Henry Barnes | 10/13/2014 10:28pm
The Bama Theatre has Jennifer Hamner’s “The Last Brush of Kush," on display now until Oct. 31. CW | Hanna Curlette
On the corner of Sixth Street and Greensboro Avenue stands the historic Bama Theatre, home to many types of performances, ranging from theatre, to music, to a wide array of community events, as well as an art gallery. The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa, a non-profit group acting as an umbrella for the art and cultural groups within Tuscaloosa County, runs both the Bama Theatre and the Junior League Gallery.
“The [Junior League Gallery] is an exhibit space on the second level of the Bama Theatre dedicated to the display of local artists’ work and The Arts Council’s visual art programming,” Kevin Ledgewood, head of publicity for the Bama Theatre, said.
This month, the Arts Council’s programming is a local artist’s exhibition: Jennifer Hamner’s “The Last Brush of Kush,” on display now until Oct. 31.
Hamner’s exhibit entails a set of seven custom-framed 48 inch by 48 inch paintings depicting the biblical seven days of creation. The story behind this African-inspired project began with a dream.
“A couple of years ago, I had this dream that I was sitting in a doctor’s office and picked up a book on the waiting room table and it was titled, ‘The Last Brush of Kush,’” Hamner said. “I woke up the next morning and checked out Kush on the internet.”
In her research, Hamner discovered that Kush is now modern-day Sudan. The area is mainly Islamic, and Christians are persecuted in the area. Several Christian artists in Sudan have taken to telling biblical stories through their art, which has led to a budding underground art scene. Hamner said this scene was still fraught with danger, as discovered artists have risked imprisonment or death.
“About a year after the dream and my internet research that morning, I felt led to paint the very story in the Bible that I learned as child, and that was of Creation,” Hamner said.
While her inspiration was the death and suffering Sudanese Christians endure, she said her hopes for this exhibit were not to raise awareness about the issue.
Hamner said she simply hopes people will like her paintings and wishes to share a story in the way the Sudanese do.
“My purpose in painting them is to share the beautiful story of Creation with an unwritten word and plenty of color,” she said. “I am no Van Gogh or Michelangelo, but I love to paint and create things.”
After the exhibit is over, Hamner is planning to donate the paintings to Mission Teens, a biblically based drug and alcohol recovery program. Mission Teens is currently building a Genesis Mission Home in Tuscaloosa to help those struggling with addiction in West Alabama.
“Pretty much everything I do is donated,” Hamner said. “The Genesis Mission seemed like the perfect place for these large paintings, and I wanted to help.”