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'For Those Gathered in the Wind': Miami Artist T. Eliott Mansa's Exhibition Honors Black Lives Lost Throughout American History

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Miami artist, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, channeled what he saw and felt into powerful, thought-provoking works.

T. Eliott Mansa's inaugural solo show, "For Those Gathered in the Wind," combines traditional West African artistic practices with modern day themes.

"The exhibit, initially, was a response to the Black Lives Matter movement. I found myself feeling very weary, like this, the constant repetition of the news cycle, and feeling powerless. And I knew that one thing I could do was create," he said.

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Artist T. Eliott Mansa discussing his works. (CBS4)

He said he mixed toy objects with toy guns, painting them all black, because there was "something about the combining and transformation of these materials."

"I was thinking about different metaphors of railroads that exist within the culture. So I was thinking about the Underground Railroad, and all these different contexts. As I studied these West African sculptures, in the culture, black was the color of life. It worked in the West as a funerary kind of color," Mansa explained. "So I just found it very interesting that it could simultaneously speak to these two different traditions."

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"As I studied these West African sculptures, in the culture, black was the color of life" - T. Eliott Mansa (CBS4)

And while present-day events may have pushed him to create, Mansa's pieces tell a larger story of social injustice.

"Take a chance to acknowledge all of the Black lives that have been lost. Not just in the current context, but throughout American history," he said, "and the importance that the struggles have had into developing the nation that we know today."

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"[Black] worked in the West as a funerary kind of color." -T. Eliott Mansa (CBS4)

Mansa's exhibit is on now until Feb. 27 at the LnS Gallery located at 2610 SW 28 Lane in Miami. To tour the exhibit, you must make an appointment online. Click here to reserve your free ticket.

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