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“Black Is Beautiful” Exhibit At Texas Mall Celebrates Community Members

A new exhibit at a mall in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is giving the community something to be proud about. More than 30 portraits capturing Black people from all walks of life is being displayed thanks to a local artist. Conceptualized after a tragedy, the exhibit has turned a negative into something to be proud about! Get the full scoop from Sydni Ellis of Addison Magazine below.

Courtesy of Yesi Fortuna

Next time you go shopping at Galleria Dallas, you’ll notice a stunning new exhibit displayed on the walls. This black-and-white portrait series, called “Black is Beautiful DFW” by Yesi Fortuna of Fort Lion Studio, features more than 30 portraits of families, individuals and community influencers. It will be on display through Feb. 28.

“The public response to George Floyd’s murder last May left many Black people feeling vulnerable, unheard and, most importantly, traumatized, as they were forced to grieve with no comfort through justice,” Fortuna said in a recent press release. “I observed this reaction and felt inclined to nurture the souls of people experiencing this pain. I felt it was part of my duty as an ally.”

Over two days last June, Fortuna opened the doors of Fort Lion Studio to Dallas’ Black community for free portraits to serve as a celebration of Black resilience. Participants were able to take part in the most recent wave of the “Black Is Beautiful” movement, which began in the 1960s as an act of defiance and deep self-love while promoting Black culture. After the killing of George Floyd, Fortuna felt she needed to continue the campaign.

Wanting to further the outreach, Fort Lion Studio applied and qualified for a grant through the Dallas Office of Arts and Culture that allowed the studio to put the photos in three ad kiosks in Fair Park, Deep Ellum and West Village.

Courtesy of Yesi Fortuna

“I think representation matters in ways we as humans can hardly articulate,” said Josette Archin, a subject in the photo series, in the release. “I know that visually we as Black folks are not represented as readily as the European standard of beauty, and the only way to dismantle it is for Black people to feel seen and be seen and celebrated in our many walks of embodiment.”

“We’re proud to be showcasing this important exhibit, especially during Black History Month,” added Megan Townsend, Director of Marketing for Galleria Dallas, in the release. “Our community and our neighborhood is a diverse and beautiful place, and Galleria Dallas aspires to be a place where everyone is welcome and celebrated.”

The portraits will hang on the Gallery Wall across from Apple on Level 1 of the Galleria. The wall most recently featured photographs depicting the history of the Chamberlain Ballet. This exhibit is free and available through Feb. 28.

Vanessa Roberson

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