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Cutz: Black Men in Focus

MFACA alumna Gracie Xavier exhibit addresses black male identity

Posted 10.13.15 by Ken Krafchek

As a Social Worker and Community Artist, I was deeply moved and inspired to create an intrinsic solution to address the social justice issues facing men of color. Often the only stories highlighted of black men are centered around violence, incarceration, and death. Because stories depicting positive images of African American men are not readily available or highlighted in the media, Xavier worked in collaboration with local barbershops, community groups and schools to amplify the voices of African American men in the narration of their own stories and celebration of their lives. --Gracie Xavier 

Cutz Opening Reception, Michelle Gomez (MFACP '14) and Gracie Xavier (MFACA '14). Photo by Anthony Summers, 2015

Cutz: Black Men in Focus is a photography and video exhibit by Gracie Xavier (MFACA '14) that investigates current events, social myths and personal perceptions surrounding the Black male identity through the backdrop of the African American barber shop. This show, curated by Michelle Gomez (MFACP ‘14) is on view - October 2-October 30, 2015, Gallery CA, Baltimore.

Gracie Xavier is a recent graduate of MICA's MFA in Community Art program who utilizes mixed media as a tool to engage communities. As a Haitian immigrant growing up in Miami, Florida, Xavier understood from an early age the need for building platforms that allow communities to showcase and narrate their own stories.

Prior to MICA, she received dual degrees in psychology and social work from Florida State University, and certification in graphic design from CUNY College of Technology. Using her diverse skills has enabled her to produce many community-focused projects in Baltimore, New York City, and Haiti while exploring the intersections between art and social work.

In 2013, Xavier was an artist-in-residence at Jakmel Espresyon, an art organization in Haiti to facilitate a two-week storytelling and bookmaking workshop. Shortly after, she produced Spear: A Survival Guide for Young African-American Men, a web-based resource designed to assist young African-American males in Baltimore to navigate the economic and social challenges associated with living in often volatile communities. In 2014, she then facilitated a storytelling and collage workshop called Istwa Djakout Mwen: The Story of My Bags, which helped participants share stories of their immigrant experience from Haiti to Brooklyn, New York.

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