Arcmanoro Niles—Revisiting the Area at Rachel Uffner

AOT Project, Arcmanoro Niles

It has got to be something to be this black woman or man, to have witnessed your parents’ struggle to arrive at middle-class standings, to grow up with the hope and optimism that all things are possible but as the dream begins to fade, and all around you warning signs of decay begin to erode your hopes and desires. Life becomes more of a struggle every day as you get married or not, and begin a family anyways. One job, onto another, two jobs but things aren’t getting much better. To watch your own children grow up in a former paradise, that place where hope and prosperity were once ever-present. To raise a child with hopes that they will not succumb to temptations that will yield no harvest. To grapple or play with your subconscious ideas and desires, but this is something the world knows not about of you because you are black and all the world has done is talked at you and about you rather than truly hearing your voice? And then when you speak up in this Obama-era, they say that’s enough we get it. Sometimes all you have left to do is stare deep into their eyes. These are some of the thoughts I glean from just a glance of Arcmanoro Nile’s paintings in the series The Area, which the artist created between 2016 and 2017. The show has been widely reviewed closes on February 25th.

AOT Project, Arcmanoro Niles

But it’s not all a story of doom. See bright and eccentric cadmium orange depictions of everyday life, constituting resilience and everyday joy in the face of anything else. Like everyone else, subconscious desires linger and wane, in the form of small creatures and stick figures; subconscious thoughts given physical space on the canvas.

AOT Project, Arcmanoro Niles

Studio Visit with Arc


We don’t have a word for this:

The disintegration of black middle class

  • Poverty enters the community
  • Crime pervades in the community
  • The advancements made aren’t passed down

[in some ways this is happening in white middle class]

Early warning signs of cultural/socio-economic

trends often touch down in black communities first and hit us the hardest. [see Brownsville mortgage crisis; national mortgage crisis]

*[always come back to this concept/theory]

Exposing/exposed composition; revealing/revealed

Perceptions; honest; non-judgemental

Non-judgemental: the American way of serving

notions of blame and guilt before nurturing, justice, fairness

AOT Project, Arcmanoro Niles

Arcmanoro Niles Stipulations of Love, Oil, Acrylic & Glitter on Canvas, 60 x 62 in, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.