Richard Wilson, the featured artist in “With My Hands, Through My Eyes,” an exhibit at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts through Feb. 28, shows off some of his best-known artwork at the center during an opening reception on Saturday.
Richard Wilson, the featured artist in “With My Hands, Through My Eyes,” an exhibit at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts through Feb. 28, shows off some of his best-known artwork at the center during an opening reception on Saturday.

Exhibit opens at center

Published 7:59pm Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A newly opened exhibit at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts features a number of black artists and their work.

“With My Hands, Through My Eyes” held an opening reception Saturday and will remain on display through Feb. 28, the end of Black History Month.

It includes a solo exhibit by North Carolina artist Richard Wilson and a juried exhibition by various local artists.

Wilson, who boasts people such as Gladys Knight and the mother of Beyonce Knowles among collectors of his work, got his start at a young age.

“My dad was an artist,” Wilson said. “That’s where I really got my start.”

By age 8, Wilson, who is now 41, was drawing expertly and taking a correspondence course in art. When he was in seventh grade, he did a series on black leaders such as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr., and it was displayed at his school.

“I was so happy,” he said.

These days, Wilson works mainly in pastels and draws inspiration from his three daughters, now ages 21, 18 and 13. He also enjoys doing scenes depicting the landscape and culture of the South.

He has won numerous local, national and international awards. In 2002, he received the National Arts Club Award, and in 2005, he became the first black artist to have work displayed in any North Carolina courthouse. The portrait depicted George Henry White, a black former Congressman from North Carolina.

He travels the country doing shows and especially enjoys talking to young aspiring artists.

“I want to show them you can have a dream at a young age and fulfill it,” he said. “It is possible to be a professional artist.”

In the juried exhibition, local artists include Melody Boone, Timothy Giles, Michael Graves, Solomon Isekeije, James Parson and Salli Purnell.

The exhibit is available for viewing Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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