Exhibition on Display: January 15 - February 27, 2020

VIP Reception: Saturday, January 18, 2020 from 6pm - 9pm; admission for two guests is $75 with discounts applied to tickets for ArtServe Members; includes gourmet bites, open wine bar, mingling with cultural leaders and live performances.

Community Reception: Saturday, February 1, 2020 from 3pm - 5pm, $20; free entry for ArtServe Members and children 12 and under. Includes pizza, punch and art activities for kids.

Under the curatorial direction of Cultural Ambassador Ludlow Bailey, this multi-media exhibition stimulates awareness of the significant philosophical and spiritual ideas that have emerged from Africa and its diaspora. Highlighting the work of contemporary artists in visual arts, puppetry, music, film and dance, “Roots of the Spirit” is a multi-sensory experience that inspires dialogue about the evolving African Diaspora and art landscape in a modern world.

During the  VIP Reception on January 18, ArtServe will recognize several of South Florida’s most respected arts influencers and organizations for their contributions to the region’s arts and culture landscape.*

The evening’s recipients of the Arts & Culture Visionary Award will be named soon. Previous recipients of the Arts & Culture Visionary Award include:

  • Broward Cultural Council Vice Chair Darran Blake
  • Renowned South Florida artist George Gadson
  • Art Fort Lauderdale and Choose954 co-founders Andrew Martineau and Evan Snow
  • Broward Cultural Council Chair Jodi Jeffreys-Tanner of Las Olas Capital Arts
  • WLRN, South Florida’s NPR and PBS TV station
  • City of Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Steve Glassman
  • City of Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis
  • Broward Cultural Division

*In celebration of ArtServe’s 30th anniversary this year, a total of 30 honorees will be recognized at similar VIP events across the upcoming artistic season.

In addition to gallery works by South Florida artists, both emerging and accomplished, featured elements and artist in "Roots of the Spirit" include:

Site-Specific Dance Work by Hattie Mae Williams

Taking place at opening receptions only.

Hattie Mae Williams is a Miami native who received her B.F.A from The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater/Fordham University program and her Masters at Goddard University in Interdisciplinary Arts. In 2003 she established her Interdisciplinary dance company The Tattooed Ballerinas, forming roots in site-specific dance. Hattie Mae has infused Film, Music, History, Installations, Literature and the practice of guerrilla-style interventions in public spaces through her practice and repertory. Performing and touring in sites such as laundromats, supermarkets, cemeteries, parks, tennis courts, subways and art galleries Williams is pushing the boundaries of perception and community involvement in performance and process. Her work has traveled nationally and internationally to Holland, Italy, London, Los Angeles, New York, Kentucky, and Miami. Williams is a recipient of the Knights Arts Challenge Grant 2013 which fully supported the site-specific film "Culture Concrete," a documentation of the historical 6,000 seat abandoned stadium in Miami, Florida, and also the Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs Choreographers Dance Grant 2015.

Works by Asser Saint-Val

Asser Saint-Val is a painter, sculptor and installation artist. His quasi-figurative images, by turns humorous and grotesque, bring together ideas, people and incidents central to modern debates about the definition and valence of Neuromalanin. Rendered in a blend of traditional art mediums and a wide range of unconventional, organic materials—coffee, chocolate, ginger, tea and chocolate among them—his pictures, objects and environments are a surreal fantasia on such loosely linked themes as under-recognized African American inventors, the politics of sexual desire, and the complex aesthetics, narratives and metaphors that attach to the organic compounds neuromelanin.

This theme is perhaps Saint-Val’s greatest preoccupation and is explored to some degree in every work in his oeuvre. His fascination with the materiality of melanin and neuro-melanin, the former responsible for human skin, hair and eye color, the latter for certain dimensions of brain function and spirituality is evident in his play with the unusual, organic “skins” of his paintings. The molecular structure of the compound and the way it operates in the human body are suggestive sources of poetic possibility at the macro level, and are most powerfully linked in his thought and representational practice to profound ideas about the human relationship to the matter and mechanics of the cosmos.

Asser Saint-Val was born in Haiti in 1974 and moved to South Florida in 1988. He earned BFAs in painting and graphic design from the New World School of the Arts. His art has been exhibited in Florida, New York and throughout the Caribbean and is represented in numerous private collections, including those of Francie Bishop Good, Dr. Arturo Mosquera, the Rubell Family and Carlos Sanchoo.  Saint-Val has twice received the prestigious South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship Award. In 2012, Saint-Val created his largest piece to date, the interactive public installation The Philosopher’s Stone, with support from the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and the Board of County Commissioners.

Cumulative and objective, Saint-Val’s work explores the metaphysical reality of this chaotic chemical with an interest in his own identity, with a specific and conscientious artistic voice. Saint-Val believes within us exists the remnant of a universe far beyond our known galaxy, and everything we need to know is within us.

"Imagine Puppets"

The Miramar Cultural Trust in collaboration with ArtServe is proud to present “Imagine Puppets,” a featured component of the Roots of the Spirit exhibition.  Crafted entirely by contemporary African-American artists, puppets appearing in “Imagine Puppets” represent the post-slavery-era evolution of African-American puppetry.  Offering intimate, whimsical and sometimes profound perspectives in modern Black Culture, the puppets bring attention to the significance of self-preservation through oral tradition.  Used to communicate customs, beliefs and history from one ancestral generation to another, puppets have a rich and perpetual purpose in African culture.

West African Puppet by Schroeder Cherry

As one of the earliest forms of theater and communication, puppetry art is a fitting medium to underscore the Miramar Cultural Trust and ArtServe’s commitment to expanding the language and function of art in the area.  More than just interesting art pieces, puppets are also important tools to educate, engage and inspire audiences of all ages. Through puppets, spectators and emerging puppeteers are given a relatable gateway into the world of visual and performing arts.

Furthermore, and most importantly, accessibility to the puppetry arts leads to the responsible cultivation of creativity, pro-social skills, academic success and a lifelong appreciation for diversity.  Along with ArtServe, the Miramar Cultural Trust deeply believes in these values and, for this reason, we present to you a very magical way to “Imagine Puppets.”


Photographic Art by Isaie "Zeek" Mathias

Born in Port-au-Prince, République d’ Haïti and raised in Miami’s Little Haïti enclave, Isaie “Zeek” Mathias is an accomplished multimedia artist. Zeek produces photography work in light and shadow that explores the intersection of the three themes: “legacy, transmission and articulation,” all of which are central to Haitian culture and the broader African Diaspora culture. The gumbo of his evocative photography is a reverberation of his formative visual influences: marketing photography and folk paintings of the natural world. Zeek has also produced poems, songs and films. He’s received a proclamation from the city of North Miami. In 2016 and 2018 he was recognized by the Miami Dade County Office of the Mayor and Board of County Commissioners for his featured work of art. His work has been exhibited in libraries, galleries and during Art Basel. In 2017, Zeek began a non-profit organization, A Reflection of Me, to promote self-love through photography. Zeek lives and works in the United States and Haïti.




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