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Event Description

Photo Credit Information: The Barbershop, Seth Aryee, photograph, 2017


September 20 – December 15, 2019

For centuries, people all over the world have enhanced their physical presence to add value to the way they appear and how others perceive them. Every society has cultivated and promoted ideals that define and qualify beauty through clothing, textiles, haircuts, jewelry, body paintings and tattoos. Adornment, however, refers not only to an object and its cultural meaning and relevance, it also encapsulates the entire state of adorning.

This exhibition explores the artist (adorner), the creative process (adorning) and the art (adorned), with a focus on the human form – its presence, stature, functionality, capabilities, expression and dynamism. It also explores how adornment can foster associations and disassociations through symbols of luxury, group affiliations, celebration and festivities, as well as conformance and defiance of authority. Adornment also explores how people choose to define themselves individually or collectively, as well as how they accept or challenge what society ascribes as possessing value.

Adornment is curated by Yvonne Osei, artist and COCA Curator in Residence.

About The Millstone Gallery

The Millstone Gallery at COCA is uniquely surrounded by COCA’s performing arts studios with programming that is steeped in adornment every day. Opportunities to highlight the intersection between programs will be scheduled throughout the exhibition to raise awareness of and appreciation for the aesthetics and purpose of human form as both the creators and creations of art.

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Featured Artists:

Seth Aryee
Seth is a Ghanaian-born artist based in Minnesota, USA. He works in the medium of photography to highlight the glamour in dark complexions and to promote the relevance of black identities. During Seth’s upbringing, he experienced numerous negative perspectives about dark skin, a complexion that he wore himself. Over the years, he has dedicated his creative work to positively influencing the way people see and interact with black subjects who dominate his photographs. He would like to be remembered as the artist that glorifies brown-skinned people.
Basil Kincaid
Basil is a post-disciplinary artist from St. Louis, Missouri. Kincaid studied drawing and painting at Colorado College, graduating in 2010. Kincaid has exhibited work internationally in Malmö Sweden, Taipei Taiwan, Montpellier France, and Accra Ghana. He has also exhibited nationally in New York, Miami, Boston, San Francisco, and with Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago. Kincaid’s work focuses primarily on legacy, heritage, reclamation, healing, labor, and self-mastery. His next solo show opens this September in London at Carl Kostyal Gallery.
Yowshien Kuo
Yowshien is a visual artist based in St. Louis, Missouri. He was educated in the United States and Taiwan, receiving his MFA in 2014. Yowshien has participated in group exhibitions at Granite City Art and Design District, The Luminary and LVL3 in Chicago. His solo exhibition was with The Bermuda Project. Yowshien works as a professor and co-owner of Monaco in St. Louis. In his work, the connotations that exist in our relationship to textiles and the clothing we wear are highlighted to intentionally challenge notions of fact and sociological discourse.
Yolanda Newson
Yolanda is an award winning jewelry and accessories designer and the owner of Yoro Creations. She is a St. Louis native who credits her father for instilling in her the love for handcrafted artistry and the spirit of entrepreneurship. In 2012, Newson attended Grace Hill Womens’ Business Center. She works with recycled materials, found objects, metals, crystals and textiles. Her designs have been featured in several of magazines and fashion shows including Ebony magazine, ALIVE Magazine, Kansas City Fashion Week and the sitcom Zoe Ever After.
Yvonne Osei
Yvonne is a German-born Ghanaian conceptual artist, curator and art educator with a transnational creative practice. Her work explores the topics of beauty and colorism, the politics of clothing, and how global trade and colonialism impact post-colonial West African & Western cultures. Osei received her M.F.A. from Washington University in St. Louis. She is the recipient of the 2018 Saint Louis Visionary Award for Emerging Artist, 2018 Creative Stimulus Award, 2019 Future Fund Award in St. Louis and is represented by the Bruno David Gallery. Osei is the inaugural Curator in Residence at the Center of Creative Arts.