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Granary Arts unveils captivating exhibitions: A dive into Afro-Surrealism and South Pacific mythologies

By Staff | Feb 7, 2024

Granary Arts, nestled in the heart of Sanpete, is delighted to introduce two thought-provoking exhibitions that promise to captivate art enthusiasts and ignite conversations. From Afro-Surrealism to South Pacific mythologies, the showcased works by Chelle Barbour and Fidalis Buehler invite visitors on a visual journey that transcends boundaries.

Juxtaposing Afro-Surrealism / Chelle Barbour

Chelle Barbour

Surrealism, a cultural movement that found its roots in the 1920s, underwent a transformative recontextualization in the 1970s through the lens of Amiri Baraka, coining the term Afro-Surrealism. Artist Chelle Barbour’s collages, showcased in this exhibition, delve into societal fractures, reimagining life’s visual fragments to construct a narrative that is both otherworldly and mythical.

Drawing inspiration from Afro-Futurism, the African Diaspora, and Dadaism, Barbour’s collages ingeniously juxtapose disparate photos to symbolically fit together. The result is a collection of depictions featuring confident and regal Black women, their assuredness enveloping the viewer. The layered images incorporate architectural elements, vintage newsprint, weapons, and animal skins, forming representational themes and metaphors.

Barbour’s work pays homage to W.E.B. Dubois’ groundbreaking compilation at the 1900 Paris Exposition, with 100 collages divided into four volumes: young Black women of the African Diaspora, vintage photographs from the “American Negro” exhibit, remarkable Black American women, and Black female authors. These collages transcend objectification, portraying Black women as queens, warriors, and heroines, embodying vulnerability, strength, resistance, and power.

About the Artist: Chelle Barbour

Chelle Barbour, a mixed media artist based in Los Angeles, is renowned for her Afro-Futurist and Afro-Surrealist collages. Her work challenges notions of agency, black beauty, and performativity, exploring the inherently complex narratives of the black female experience. Barbour’s debut solo show, “You IS Pretty! Surrealism and The Black Imaginary,” and participation in international exhibitions solidify her position as a trailblazer in contemporary art.

The Wayside and Whispers / Fidalis Buehler

Fidalis Buehler

Fidalis Buehler’s mixed-media creations serve as visual manifestations of his identity, intricately woven through the lens of American culture and South Pacific traditions. His works navigate confrontations and conflicting realities, balancing on the delicate line between levity and earnest devotion. Buehler’s images are playful conjurings–self-portraits that explore the complexities of expanded and contracted narratives, blending two cultures while crafting a rich mythology of personal identity.

About the Artist: Fidalis Buehler

Fidalis Buehler, a mixed-media artist based in northern Utah, seamlessly blends Euro-American and Pacific Island heritage in his artistic practice. His works have graced regional, national, and international exhibitions, exploring complex representations of identity through American and South Pacific traditions. An Associate Professor of studio art at Brigham Young University, Buehler’s creative journey embodies a fusion of diverse cultural influences.

Granary Arts invites the community to immerse themselves in these compelling exhibitions, where art becomes a bridge between diverse cultures and narratives. The showcase promises to be a transformative experience, leaving visitors with a deeper understanding of Afro-Surrealism and South Pacific mythologies.


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