Local artist and Marion High School art teacher Tashema Davis is currently showcasing her collection titled “38” at Indiana Wesleyan University’s (IWU) 1920 Gallery.

“The 38th year of my life is when I decided I am an artist,” Davis said at the gallery’s first artist talk of the fall semester Sept. 4. “I’m a professional artist.”

Davis’ canvas and tapestry paintings of nature and her multiple self-portraits capture the beauty of bright colors, bold contrasts and intricate designs, and many of them depict Black females.

“I think that it’s important, especially in this day, to have Black faces depicted in a beautiful way,” she said. Davis said she hopes viewers will look at her art and see acceptance, beauty and freedom.

“I love the color and how bold it is,” Lily Roche, student assistant of the IWU Galleries, said. “Everything has a purpose in her art.”

In her artist talk, Davis explained how her experience growing up in the projects of Gary, Indiana speaks through her favorite piece of her solo show, “Aesthete.”

On this self-portrait tapestry, Davis used spray paint and tattoo art designs to reflect scenes of her hometown, where bright colored lines of graffiti were some of her only exposures to art as a child.

“She has so much work, we didn’t even have space for it,” Daniel Hall, the IWU Galleries Curator, said.

Hall said this show was the current IWU Galleries team’s first time working together, and their goal was to develop a relationship with Davis while preparing to showcase her work.

“With this show, I’ve learned to accept myself,” Davis said. “And it feels very liberating.”

The 1920 Gallery is located in the Barnes Student Center at IWU. Davis will be back in the 1920 Gallery to meet visitors on Saturday, Sept. 19 from 3-6 p.m.

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