You can read my feature article “Everything Old Is Renewed Again at the Walters Art Museum” in the February 19, 2024 issue of BmoreArt Magazine by clicking here:

Everything Old Is Renewed Again at the Walters Art Museum

“Everything Old Is Renewed Again at the Walters Art Museum”
By Stephen Wozniak
February 19, 2024
BmoreArt Magazine



Close by Makonnen’s work is that of art star Kehinde Wiley, best known for his majestic, foliage-set official painting of President Barack Obama for the National Portrait Gallery. Now on view following its recent acquisition by the Walters, Wiley’s angelic, stained-glass portrait, “Saint Amelie,” from 2014, hangs among numerous ancient artifacts in the museum’s hallowed space.

In contrast to—yet also in harmony with—Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s 19th-century stained-glass work of the same title, Wiley’s glasswork portrays a young, serene Black man of today, rather than the eighth-century Christian saint. Instead of robes and sandals, his saint, Kern Alexander, wears Converse sneakers, cuffed jeans and a hoodie—typical garb of any ordinary city man the world over. Wiley’s work asks for a moment of pause to absorb and pay respect to such men who have maintained strength in the face of unremitting discrimination, inhumanity and—in many cases—violent premature death. Keyed to a color palette of rustic reds, Victorian greens and mired gold often found in African nation flags, Wiley also alludes to the rich cultural heritage of those regions, the roots of his subjects.

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