Actress CCH Pounder’s new art exhibit at Xavier explores black female beauty and power
Updated Dec 20; Posted Dec 20
By Susan Langenhennig
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Actress CCH Pounder stood half-hidden in a doorway at the Xavier University Art Gallery and watched as a student, backpack over one shoulder, hurried through the spacious hall, then abruptly stopped and turned on his heel, as if dragged by gravitational force. Shifting his body 90 degrees, the student tilted his head and studied a large painting on the wall. “The Birth of Oshun” by Harmonia Rosales.
The painting is striking for many reasons. The scene is familiar, a play on Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus,” but Oshun is a black woman, beautiful with cropped hair, rising from a seashell, flanked by other African figures portraying deities and surrounded by tropical foliage in earthy colors.
“She stops everyone,” said Pounder, as the student stared at Rosales’ tour de force. “I love watching people walk through here and see what catches them.”
“The Birth of Oshun” is among 42 paintings in “Queen: An Exhibition,” which features works from Pounder’s private collection now on view at the Xavier University Art Gallery in the Administration Building at 1 Drexel Drive. The exhibit is open to the public, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, free of charge, and will be on display through Feb. 26 as a satellite site for Prospect.4, the citywide exhibition of avant-garde sculpture, paintings, photos and installations.
Art lovers should not miss this chance to see “Queen,” a rare opportunity to view just a small fraction of Pounder’s vast private collection. Many of the works — paintings, sculpture, mixed media pieces — still fill the walls and shelves of Pounder’s condo downtown while she renovates a house she recently purchased in New Orleans. Still more pieces remain in storage.