Black Is Beautiful DFW, a series of black-and-white portraits by Yesi Fortuna of Fort Lion Studio, will be on display at Galleria Dallas Feb. 1-29. The series was created as a way to show the studio’s solidarity with the Black community in an artistic form. More than 30 portraits will be on display, including families, individuals and community influencers.
Over two days last June, Fortuna opened the doors of Fort Lion Studio to Dallas’ Black community for free portraits to serve as a celebration of Black resilience. Participants were able to take part in the most recent wave of the “Black Is Beautiful” movement, which began in the 1960s as an act of defiance and deep self-love while promoting Black culture.
After the killing of George Floyd, Fortuna felt she needed to continue the campaign.
“The public response to George Floyd’s murder last May left many Black people feeling vulnerable, unheard and, most importantly, traumatized, as they were forced to grieve with no comfort through justice,” Fortuna said. “I observed this reaction and felt inclined to nurture the souls of people experiencing this pain. I felt it was part of my duty as an ally.”
Wanting to further the outreach, Fort Lion Studio applied and qualified for a grant through the Dallas Office of Arts and Culture that allowed the studio to put the photos in three ad kiosks in Fair Park, Deep Ellum and West Village.
“I think representation matters in ways we as humans can hardly articulate,” said Josette Archin, a subject in the photo series. “I know that visually we as Black folks are not represented as readily as the European standard of beauty, and the only way to dismantle it is for Black people to feel seen and be seen and celebrated in our many walks of embodiment.”
The portraits will hang on the Gallery Wall across from Apple on Level 1 of the Galleria. The wall most recently featured photographs depicting the history of the Chamberlain Ballet.
“We’re proud to be showcasing this important exhibit, especially during Black History Month,” said Megan Townsend, Director of Marketing for Galleria Dallas. “Our community and our neighborhood is a diverse and beautiful place, and Galleria Dallas aspires to be a place where everyone is welcome and celebrated.”
What: Black Is Beautiful DFW exhibit
When: Feb. 1-29, 2021
Where: Galleria Dallas, 13350 Dallas Parkway, Dallas, TX 75240. Located on Level I on the gallery wall across from Apple.