Juba combines art and activism for upcoming WF art show
WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - News Channel 6 went behind the scenes of 9th Street Studios’ upcoming exhibition on Monday, speaking with the artist and getting a feel for why this is a show you won’t want to miss.
To walk through the “Dare to Love: A Study of Trauma and Resilience” exhibition is to walk through the life of Jackie Davis. Known as “Juba” in the art community, the Dallas-based artist uses personal mementos and memories to forge art edged in activism. Confidential documents from foster care agencies plaster a bathtub; his parents’ letters, sent from prison, hang from the ceiling. All of the artwork shares a thread of raw emotion, urging a response from the viewer.
“It’s not about just telling harsh stories,” Juba said. “But I think there’s a truth that people need to see. These are my truths, these are my experiences, as well as other people’s experiences with me.”
While some of those experiences are painful, exploring themes of mental illness, addiction, and abuse, they are tempered with messages of hope and resilience. One canvas stands as a tribute to Juba’s adopted family, who embraced him with open arms. Another compares his life as he lived it, to how others documented his experiences while he was in the system.
Juba said the goal of the gallery is awareness, and that he hopes it lights a fire in people: “I want them to walk away hopeful, inspired. I want them to walk away with a different mindset, or to go out and research some of the things they didn’t understand so they can have clarity.”
“Those are important things I want people to walk away from the gallery with,” Juba said. “Not just seeing something beautiful and saying, ‘Oh, that’s beautiful,’ but I want them to also resonate with it in some type of way, and be able to take it out into the community.”
That message is particularly important to him because of his own experiences, both past and present. Outside of the art world, Juba works with children in the foster care system, many of whom have been through similar trauma.
He recalled how a friend called and asked him to speak with a foster child, who was crying because they had never heard of anyone succeeding in life after aging out of the system. Juba said he’d felt the same growing up, and that now he stands to make a difference because of it.
“I made it,” he grinned. “Here I am now.”
Juba was in Wichita Falls Monday to drop off and stage finish art for his upcoming solo exhibition at 9th Street Studios. The exhibition will open on Feb. 12 with an Artist Talk with Q&A from 5-6 p.m. (tickets cost $10 each), followed by a free opening reception from 6-8 p.m.
The exhibition will run through March 25.
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