NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) —17 years passed the receded waters of Hurricane Katrina, there are more stories to tell. During that time, an artist and his family were scrambling to save years worth of paintings. The artist was named Charles Collins Jr.
One particular piece has been recently restored to its full glory. In 1991, the Zulu Aid & Pleasure Club, commissioned Collins to create their 1991, Governor’s Diamond Jubilee poster. The poster was purple and featured striking and robust colors fit for Zulu royalty. One of the composites of that original poster has resurfaced. The composite was minimally damaged in hurricane water in 2005; it is now restored and ready for viewing at the ArtSpace gallery at, 2111 Dumaine Street, Suite 203, New Orleans, LA.
Derrick Hemphill and the family of Collins have curated quite a collection of Charles Collins’ work and they are elated to show off the Zulu poster composite. “It was in an entire studio of pieces by him. This particular piece had water damage. As we investigated further, we realized that it was minor water damage compared to some of the pieces that we lost,” says Derrick Hemphill.
Charles Collins Jr. passed away two years ago and it is the hope of his family to use his art and the Zulu poster to reintroduce Collins’ work to the public.
Deborah Collins is the wife of the late Charles Collins and says, “my husband had been drawing ever since he was eight years old. He went to school to refine what he knew that God gave him.”
Collins attended Xavier University and was a brilliant vocalist that doubled majored in music and fine art. Over the years, it was his rapidograph sketches and oils on canvas that showed the vibrancy of the New Orleans life, he was so fond of. Often his works depicted Mardi Gras Indians and showed African American figures of the city.
Mrs. Collins remembers her husband as she looks at the large quantity of works he left behind saying, “my walls were always decorated with something new. He was drawing to sell and make a way for us. Every painting that he drew, I wanted to keep it. He made a life for us with his art. It is important for us to celebrate and support our city’s artists.”
To learn more about Charles Collins Jr, purchase some artwork and schedule a visit to the ArtSpace Gallery, click here.