Queen with a paintbrush

The Dunbar Art Gallery hosted an event called “HerStory” on April 14 that  was presented by Miss Grambling 2015–2016 Joiya Smith.

The gallery was used to document the struggles and accomplishments of black women in American history. The underlying theme was black empowerment as well as the adversity women have faced in society. 

The gallery was chalked with various mottos and slogans that seek to motivate black students to strive for greatness and fight the injustices that affects us today.   

TERENCE WILLIAMS/The Gramblinite Smith explains her painting to an onlooker during her showcase in Dunbar Gallery.

Smith explains her painting to an onlooker during her showcase in Dunbar Gallery.

Smith, a graduating senior majoring in digital arts, was inspired by her family, specifically her mother and grandmother, who did not have the chance to get an education but ensured her and her siblings had the best. 

Smith noted that several members of her family that were raised by her grandmother now have either a master’s or doctoral degree in various field such as law and medicine. She was raised along with six of her siblings by a single mother. 

Smith describes herself as grateful for the sacrifices that her mother and grandfather had made to make sure

Those in attendance included President Willie Larkin, Ms Smith’s mother and associates, interested students and faculty of the visual and performing department. Some of the artworks were inspired by African American women who had a social impact on society such as Shirley Chisolm, Alice Coachman, Michelle Obama, Rosa Parks, Loretta Lynch, Marian Anderson and Oprah Winfrey. One of her artworks is a digital balloon photo of the Smith family which she holds very dear.

Jasmine Holmes, a senior from Alexandria, Louisiana, who majors in social work enjoyed herself at the event saying, “Joiya Smith definitely executed the message of women empowerment. I feel like she did a great job and I definitely think that all of the student body should see.” Another one of the attendees, Steven Alexander a freshman from Bogalusa, Louisiana, majoring in biology said, “I think it is a wonderful show. [She] actually showcased black women empowerment well.” Jonathan Wallace, a graduating senior from Rayville, Louisiana who majors in sports management said, “It was really nice . . . to see her artistic skills put this together . . . I was very impressed.”

 Smith extends her thanks to those who helped her in the production of the gallery. Those who assisted include professor of art, Donna McGee, photographer Terence Williams for the production of the works of art and her mother for preparing parts of the reception. 

The artwork will available for viewing until Thursday April 28. There will also be a student show starting from Monday, May 2 until Thursday Sept. 29,  where all students are invited to show their works.