Student Organizations | February 17th, 2020

ArtTalks to Inspire Visual Arts Program Scholars

By: Amiya Abner
ArtTalks to Inspire Visual Arts Program Scholars

Located in Florida A&M University’s very own Foster Tanner Fine Arts Gallery, the Visual Arts program held its annual ArtTalks event on February 5. This event was a part of the FAMU Fine Art graduate’s celebration “Voices of FAMU Art Program: A Collection of Six Decades of Art”. Students were able to view and discuss the artwork of alum Turbado Marabou that highlighted the purpose of being an artist and the importance of using artistic creativity to advance cultural awareness. 

Turbado Marabou, born by the name of James Miller, is a FAMU alum from Gainesville, Florida who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Fine Arts in 1988. He later received his Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also received the Porter Butts Award for Outstanding Talents in the arts. 

After graduating, Marabou decided to pursue his artistic passion by relocating to Chicago, Illinois. What started off as creating murals with the Chicago Public Art Group transformed into an opportunity for Marabou to expand upon his multitude of talents. 

Today, Marabou serves as the CEO of the Deeproots Art & Culture Creative Services LLC where he serves as an art and cultural advocate. In his leisure, he continues to create his own artwork that currently showcases in local exhibitions and galleries, while staying active with his hometown community. 

One of the first few pieces Marabou projected was one of his favorite works entitled “Woman with Jar”, a 14 x 22 watercolor and colored pencil image of a Zulu woman balancing a jar on her head. Marabou explained his trip to KwaZulu- Natal, South Africa as inspiration for the piece. 

During his trip, he learned about the Zulu reservation and visited the popular tourist attraction Shaka Zulu Land where they kept set artifacts from William C. Faure’s 1986 film “Shaka Zulu”. 

Inside the gates, tourists roamed to different stations, Marabou found this woman in a turban holding a jar over her head surrounded by tourists. As the woman stood for pictures, he overheard tourists flooding her with abrupt commands to pose for photos. Interrupting the chaos, Marabou gave her a look of assurance and in response, the woman made the unique captured facial expression.

Marabou also pointed out the symbolic representations of the water droplets leaking at the bottom of the jar.  “Water is the representation of life, nourishment, and sustainment,” he proceeds to explain. “The leaking is what she is trying to carry or preserve. There’s unsustainability about our way of life and we need to understand it and preserve it.” 

From beginning to end, Marabou delves into his artistic process and the history behind each work he presented. He also provided the students with tips on how to create a piece while sticking to the sole purpose. 

“Allow your creativity to represent you, allow your creativity to show your best works in life. Go forth and don’t be ashamed of anything that you imagine,” Marabou shared in his final remarks. 

This powerful message resonated with the entire room, leaving aspiring artists with motivation to continue honing in on their craft.

Created in 2016, ArtTalks are open and free to the public and are currently coordinated by Harris Wiltsher for the 2019-2020 academic year. The next event hosted by the Fine Arts Program will be the “Voices of Famu Art Program; A Collection of Six Decades of Art” exhibited in the Foster- Tanner Fine Arts Gallery from February 27- April 5, 2020. 

To keep up with future Fine Art Program news and events follow them on Facebook at FAMU Foster-Tanner Fine Arts Gallery or visit their webpage below.