NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) —A recently opened exhibition at the Southern University at New Orleans Museum of Art showcases the works of high school students.

“Fresh Eyes, the Way I See Myself,” is the title of the exhibit. 40 students from McDonogh 35 College Preparatory High School, were challenged to define themselves through creative concept.

Ted Ellis, is the museum director and world renowned visual artist who challenged the students with the concept of seeing themselves.

“How do you see yourself? We get to see this future generation and what they are thinking about, as it relates to their culture and their history,” says Ellis.

Over 100 works of art are showcased. Each one tells a story and is imagery of self-definition. There are paintings of galactic and celestial beings, collages, emotional self-portraits and representations of how African Americans see themselves within the larger story of the country.

Olivia White is a senior at McDonogh 35, and one of the gifted artists with art on display. She submitted a series of paintings showing different articles of clothing that blacks have worn throughout history.

“I just decided to show all fashion throughout history, especially for African Americans, and how history has affected them. For example, one of my pieces focuses on the Black Panther Party berets, which are infamous with the uniform and the movement.”

White plans to attend The Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia after her high school graduation. Her passion is in fashion.

“One dress I decided to paint, is a design of my own and how I believe I will be in the future with my designs. The dress with the red stripes is an Ann Lowe dress, who was an African American fashion pioneer. I also painted a dress in indigo, which was used to dye many clothes back then. During slavery, there were big plantations for indigo and I wanted to incorporate that history. I also decided to incorporate a Victorian dress, which was widely worn during that era.”

Art has always been part of our story as individuals. Every day we look in the mirror and cast discernment on who we are at the moment, whether that is how we define ourselves or how society defines individuals. To be able to see art in our own reflection as well as others, is what the students in the exhibit are illustrating.

“When you look at the art of these students, you see a high level of creative output and talent that we have to continue to nurture and give this opportunity for growth and exposure,” says Ted Ellis.

The Fresh Eyes Exhibition is free and open to the public and will be up until the end of March at the Southern University at New Orleans Museum of Art.

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