African culture & athleticism: Graduating seniors carry artistic torch

The Grambling State University Art department hosted a joint gallery showing of graduating seniors Kenneth Anio and Emmanuel Adlain’s works Wednesday afternoon. Their pieces provided a stark contrast to each other, but were also complementary parts of the African and African American experience. They spoke to African culture and athleticism.

Anio is a former Grambling State University cornerback from Baton Rouge. His preferred mediums include oil paint on canvas, pencil drawings, graphite and charcoal.

Ernie Barnes, a painter formerly of the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos, inspires him.

“My works represent my lifestyle, the things that I am accustomed to seeing and doing as they relate to sports,” Anio wrote in a synopsis of his work.

The G-man has drawn all of his life and has been painting for three years.

I have multiple talents, Anio said before talking about how he enjoys coaching. He suffered a broken leg last year and became a player-coach for the Grambling State Tigers.

Anio’s pieces wrapped around the right side of the gallery and reflected on his love, football. They included several penciled drawings being sold for reasonable prices. Some were $20.

The piece that conveyed the strongest sense of passion was a painting, “Possession?” based on a questionable play from the 2008 Bayou Classic.

Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet inspire Adlain whose pieces are derived from a historical and African context.

His usage of deep browns and African colors conveyed vibrancy. The pieces also juxtaposed racial pride and identity confusion.

“I struggle with my St. Lucian identity,” Adlain said before talking about how he wants his art to change the community.
“How can we affect Grambling society positively?”

Adlain said he hopes to create a helpful change by using the same subjects with different perspective.

“The uncomfortable can be beautiful, too,” he said. He applies Igbo and Egyptian influences, in addition to philosophy to his works.

It’s about using wisdom to the work instead of solely book knowledge, Adlain said.

“Many people live their lives in a box of comfort and are too scared to see outside. I’m interested in creating questions that will encourage viewers to think outside of the box,” Adlain said.

Contact Department Head Donna McGee at 318-274-2274 for more information.