LaWanda Donald exhibit - on display August 4 - September 29, 2017.
LaWanda Donald has loved art since she was a little girl. “When I was about 4 or 5, my dad drew a smiley face,” she said. “We had just finished eating dinner, I think my mom was cleaning up the kitchen and, for whatever reason, he drew a simple smiley face on a piece of paper and I thought that was the most amazing thing I ever saw. I wanted to do that forever.” She said that from that point on, there was no stopping her. “I started drawing friends and classmates and started drawing portraits and had my brothers judge them,” she said. “I would draw images from comic books, stuff like that.”
Donald is showing off those artistic talents in her exhibit, “Hidden Things,” which opens at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4, at the Black Heritage Gallery, inside the Central School Arts and Humanities Center, 809 Kirby St. The exhibit will be on display through Sept. 29.
“In each picture, I’m trying to get people to look at the painting or the artwork and try to gather some kind of meaning behind it, not necessarily about who it’s about but what it’s about. I’m basically trying to convey a message in each one.” One such piece that will be on display is a painting of a young girl in a neon pink and yellow dress. “The inspiration was a friend of mine, when she was younger,” she said. “The idea came from something I saw of her and she just looked peaceful and I was trying to convey the innocence of a child.”
She said a lot of the people featured in the artwork are not necessarily painted in a literal manner. “They represent different things and ideas,” she said. Another painting in the collection is shaped like a puzzle piece and features the face of a man. Near the bottom of the painting, a red-gloved hand reaches up and touches a pool of water within the man’s eye socket.“That one is about looking within oneself,” Donald said. She said the pieces in the exhibit have been years in the making. “Usually I will come up with a sketch when the idea comes to my head and later on I’ll figure out how I want to paint and make something of it.”
Donald said she is mostly drawn to paints, print making and water colors but likes to dabble in arcylics, charcoal and oil.
M-F 9:00AM to 5:00PM Saturday by Appointment