Show: Berlin Files x BAAR Art Journey and Residency

Jewell Sparks, Bode Projects, November 3, 2022


10.11.2022 – 06.01.2023


Bode Projects


BERLIN FILES is an extension of the current art exhibition UNAPOLOGETIC taking place at Stiftung Starke until 06.01.23. Out of 180 applications from African Diaspora artists across the globe, BiTHOUSE GROUP, the creators of BAAR Art Journey and Residency selected six artists who spent six weeks In Berlin, Germany. Artists were asked to bring two works of art that they created prior to their journey to Berlin, and create two works of art during their residency stay at Stiftung Starke.
BAAR Art Journey and Residency was founded by Wilhelmina Jewell Sparks in order to protect, foster, and amplify the talents of emerging and established African Diaspora and LatinX artists who have traditionally had limited access to mainstream art markets, gallery representation, and / or integration into institutional collections. During BAAR Art Journey and Residency, artists created works of art over a five week time period as they experienced psychological safety and tapped into their authentic selves outside of their countries. The program was created to challenge traditional art market dynamics in order to increase creator equity, generational wealth and redefine attitudes and mindsets pertaining to what is considered good art, quality art and mainstream contemporary art. Studies show that psychological safety allows for various degrees of risk - taking, creativity, and fearlessness, these elements have been known to lead to market breakthroughs (Harvard Business Review) and this was the motivation behind creating BAAR Art Journey and Residency.
The curator of this exhibit, Jewell Sparks, challenges viewers to look beyond what is seen with the naked eye and imagine the transformative state that each artist experienced during their stay in Berlin, outside of their comfort zone. Exhibitors should try to reflect on the impacts of the pandemic amongst communities of color, and the long term effects that various social injustices have had on communities of color. What would you create if you reflected on your time over the last years? How much does one's environment impact their creativity? These questions were answered and embedded into the canvases of the artists who are part of this exhibition and whose works will travel to various cultural meccas once the artists leave Berlin.
BERLIN FILES includes works by BAAR Art Journey and Residency participants: Adana Tillman, Alphonce Odhiambo Ojwang, Carl Hazlewood, Kendra Dandy, Nanette Carter, and Cory Ford. Also work by BAAR+ Includes (hybrid + inclusive of African Diaspora and LatinX artists) artists A. Stoyke, Hamisi Mwangome, Rafaella Braga, and Francisco “Totem” Perez. 
– Jewell Sparks