TSU student opens exhibit at Row Houses

DreanaBooker, a junior art major at Texas Southern University, is one of seven college students who have unveiled installations as part of the 2018 Summer Studios initiative at Project Row Houses. The viewing period for the work runs through Sept. 16. All seven projects are free and open to the public in the 2500 block of Holman Street.

Booker’s exhibit theme – “What Does Freedom Cost?”revolves around systematic oppression and other social issues that impact African-American society. She uses paintings and mixed media displays to draw a parallel between slavery and its continued legacy in the United States. Booker says that she plans to transform the Row House into a slave cabin as a reminder that antebellum racial politics is part of modern life. This is her first major installation.

“My work is about social-political topics and I express past experiences that made me who I am or how it impacts a community. My art is pain,” she said. “I want to use my platform to spread awareness. It’s important to me, my family and my community.”

Booker prefers acrylic paint because she can create specific pigments. She often cries while in the process of creating and tries to find colors that match her level of emotion.

She joins fellow students from Rice University, the University of Houston, University of Houston-Downtown and University of St. Thomas in the Summer Studio Residents program.

Project Row Houses is a community platform designed to enrich lives through art with an emphasis on cultural identity and its impact on the urban landscape. It engages neighbors, artists, and enterprises in collective creative action to help materialize sustainable opportunities in marginalized communities.

PRH occupies a significant footprint in Houston’s historic Third Ward, one of the city’s oldest African-American neighborhoods. The site encompasses five city blocks and houses 39 structures that serve as home base to a variety of community-enriching initiatives, art programs, and neighborhood development activities.