The Gathering to serve as hub for artistic networkingWritten by Mighty Wyte (Matt Feher) | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Visual artist Yusuf Lateef said his latest show, “The Gathering,” is designed to be a hub for artistic networking in Toledo. Bozarts Fine Art and Music Gallery, 151 S. St. Clair St., will host “The Gathering” from Sept. 3 to 23.
“When I was a kid, the thing was to get coloring books,” Lateef said. “Blank paper was our toy; there was nothing there and we had to create it. Painting and music are similar in creation, in that there’s a build and take away process.”
Lateef has exhibited work locally at venues such as the Truth Gallery, the Art Tatum African American Resource Center, the Ford Gallery, the Collingwood Arts Center and the 20 North Gallery. He has also shown his work at the 555 Studio Gallery in Detroit and the Chop Chop Gallery in Columbus. A native of Columbus, he received formal arts training at the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD).
“After I dropped out of CCAD in my senior year, I took a hiatus where I didn’t make art for a number of years. It was really my time as a resident artist at the Collingwood Arts Center that got me painting and drawing again,” Lateef said. “The artists I met there were so instrumental in my work as an artist. That’s one of the reasons I’m so happy to open this exhibit at Bozarts, because of the working relationship and the friendship that I’ve always had with Jerry Gray. I gathered up everything I’ve learned over the years and put it all into this show; that’s how the show got its name. The work is new and universal, it offers a conversation that we haven’t had yet.”
Lateef, who expresses artistic vision through visual and audio mediums, said the free show will be a multimedia event featuring a collection of his deep and colorful work, with a performance by a collective of Toledo Hip-Hop artists known as the Great Lakes Crew.
Great Lakes Crew has been a local music staple since 2000 and performs regionally 25-30 times per year. According to Great Lakes Crew MC Ron Jero, “Our shows are high energy. If we had it our way, we’d have explosives as part of the show! We know you’re comin’ out to be entertained, not watch a group of boring guys standing around. We don’t have a band so we have to give off all of the energy.”
Jero expressed similar views of creating within the artistic realm and said Great Lakes Crew vigorously supports the local art scene.
“We want to be the Hip-Hop group for the city,” Jero said. “The important thing for us is being very creative.”
Lateef said Hip-Hop was “the first form of music that basically spoke to me. That was it, no questions asked. It was inclusive of all other things. It had roots in jazz, blues and it had a consistent vibe that naturally speaks to me and especially to the kids coming out of the late ’80s and early ’90s. Hip-Hop had a definite beat, vibe, rhythm and it said, ‘Hey, do what you do. You are you.’”
Lateef said he has been musically inspired by Erykah Badu and “the more conscious MCs, those who have a lyrical finesse to themselves.”
The opening will also feature DJs Sid Delux and Liquid Accent. The show is free and open to the public. For more information about “The Gathering,” e-mail email@example.com.
John Dorsey and Martini Rox contributed to this report.