Curated by Duro Olowu, an Exhibition About the Artist Robert Earl Paige Sparks Joy

Duro Olowu, the print-mad manner designer and curator, explores textiles as art (aside from clothes or interiors) in a new exhibition that celebrates the do the job of Robert Earl Paige. Right until now, the artist and activist has been anything of an unsung hero, a single who remains in continual pursuit of splendor. “Robert Earl Paige: Power to the People,” “gives flowers,” as it were, to the participating and attractive artist who Olowu describes as remaining a get the job done of art in himself.

Paige labels himself  “a doodler, a tinker, and a dabbler” who is pushed by curiosity and a sense of duty. “I tell everybody I’m gonna be all over until 120, which is the way,” claims the artist on a get in touch with. “Who’s heading to be left below to make absolutely sure all this S-H-I-T is effective? A person has to be liable for recording this and reporting on this, and I see that as part of my assignment. Every little thing I do I attribute it to an assignment that I have, that I want to explore, or to do, or to share.” Adds Olowu: “I think Robert sees his artwork as a position, he has entertaining doing it, but he usually takes it incredibly severely.” 

Born in a segregated Chicago in 1936, Paige earned a degree in interior design and style from the University of the Art Institute of Chicago, though performing with architecture and interiors. Paige was portion of the Black Arts Movement and the AfriCobra collective lively in the town. He traveled to Italy to design and style patterns made use of in vogue. 1 of the outcomes of an eye-opening journey to Senegal was his Dakkabar collection of property textiles, which was made to celebrate Black heritage and discuss right to the Black customer. “African art is abstract and symbolic. It has the energy to evoke potent feelings,” Paige told the New York Periods when the collection was introduced in 1973.

Paige, who is most effective regarded for his textile layouts, claims in a press release that he sees his work sitting within just the framework of “an African American custom in ornamental arts.” When Olowu visited Paige at dwelling in Chicago, he identified an “oasis of amazing work… and I just considered Robert is an artist and he can make matters in distinctive mediums.”  As this sort of, ceramics, collages, paintings, textiles, and assemblages are all introduced jointly in the exhibition, which is now on perspective at Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn’s Salon 94 Style and design gallery in the Decrease East Facet. “I imagine perception is everything, but it is up to both of those institutions and galleries to support tutorial notion,” states Olowu. “If you keep dividing, what you are doing is depriving the viewer. With Robert’s operate, whether or not it is a curtain in a a bit political fabric, a ceramic, or his material collages, it’s really about waking up and remaining mindful about continuously remaining stimulated for your possess good. I assume Robert’s perform is quite significant since it demonstrates a absence of self-consciousness about position, and it displays a deficiency of self-consciousness about how the get the job done is witnessed.”