LOVE'S ARMY - Shaman's Awakening
Philly Recap by The Watchful Owl
On Saturday, October 2, 2021, a much-needed balm was dispensed in West Philly with the arrival of “Love’s Army: The Shaman’s Awakening” at the Urban Art Gallery. Presented by Philly’s own B/ue Robin, this multimedia experience celebrated love’s ability to heal through art. The modern-day shamans that B/ue assembled to help carry out the mission were fellow Philly-bred artists Al B Art and Shanneil Clarke and D.C. representatives Lindsey “arTestimony” Vance and Jessica Yirenkyi.
What B/ue and the rest of the army created that night would best be described as a carefully-curated immersive experience. The art itself, which ranged from acrylic and oil paintings to wood carvings to mixed media pieces, lined the perimeter of both floors of the gallery while DJs Andi and Ace provided a soundtrack of hip hop, reggae, and soul music. While brilliant in standard gallery lighting, the work on the lower-level shined even brighter in darkness once B/ue added his signature blacklight experience. Attendees turned into participants when they scanned personalized QR codes to find out more about the artists and the stories behind their works and when they shared their dreams on the interactive Dreamcatcher.
The opening ceremonies were a breath-taking, commemorative, exhibition gala. From the rhythmic, crowd-gathering performance of PME Drum Line outdoors, to the stirring works of the visual artists, "Love's Army" was a capacity-exceeding success. Photography masters Larry Wright and Steven C.W. Taylor added their brilliance to the festivities, capturing memories that will last a lifetime.
Love's Army's inaugural weekend closed Sunday afternoon with an in-depth journey into the mind and works of visual arTestimony. As the Hummingbird Spirit and Fire element, she used her expertise as a therapeutic application to heal the audience: physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.
The knowledge that Love's Army would occupy The Urban Art Gallery for the entire month of October made one wonder what its soldiers could do for an encore. The next weekend answered that question. Jessica Yirenkyi, the Dart Frog Spirit and Water element captivated the hearts of art enthusiasts with a multi-layered discourse on ideas from ancient Ghanaian history that inspired her creativity. Adding to Jessica's exhilarating invocation was mathematical wizard O’Neil Barnaby, creator and operator of The Black Math Academy. His energetic passion, combined with a genius-level arithmetic intellect, educated and awed the crowd.
On October 30rd, Art Buds and The Painted Fool's Painthouse presented - a class that taught the young students the importance of color, and how it connects to, and triggers different emotions. Instructors Shanina Dionna and Justin Green lead the class in the creation of a color wheel where they create unique patterns from primary and secondary colors made by the youth. The young witnesses were given an inspiring and unique experience from the instructors, one I believe they'll always remember.
Love's Army concluded that evening with an intense, intimate glimpse into the soul realm of this art movement's chief, B/ue Robin. B/ue opened the floor with a personal questionnaire surrounding the conception, ethos, and application of Love's Army, as well as his own history of being reared as a youth in the inner-city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The question and answer evolved into an intense roundtable discussion that stirred the hearts of everyone involved. The gallery exhibits benediction also featured a Delaware Valley first: a ‘Brush Battle’ between artists Maluchi Enyi and Al B Art. Brush Battles have been challenging new showcase opportunities for visual artists in the Maryland Washington D.C. area.
While the Philadelphia installation of Love’s Army: The Shaman’s Awakening may be over, the healing and transformative power of love through art that it brought to the city will continue to transcend cultures and generations. It will continue to resonate in all who were able to experience it.
The Experience is just beginning. Below are links to help keep it going.
Special thanks to the family:
ARTISTS: @AL_B_ART @ARTESTIMONY @JAYDZIGNZ @SSAC_ART
@TREARTS9 @YOGIJAWN @BLUEROBINCMB
MUSIC: @ACE_PIANOKEYS @DAPPER724 @WHOUROCKINWIT
SHOOTERS: @THEPAINTEDFOOL @STEVENCWTAYLOR @LARRYWRIGHTPHOTOGRAPHY
FASHION: @UBUNTUFINEART @THE_DAPPER_RENAISSANCE
SUPPORT: DMV TEAM