Bo Bartlett Center, Black Art in America Spotlight Alfred Conteh Painting

Mary P by Alfred Conteh, (b. 1975) acrylic paint and atomized steel dust on canvas 74″x 42″, ( Najee & Seteria Dorsey Collection)

BLACK ART IN AMERICA™ (BAIA), the leading online portal and network focused on African American Art in the nation, announces the inaugural project of its new partnership with the Bo Bartlett Center at Columbus State University. The first in a series of initiatives sharing works by legacy and contemporary artists of color, the collaboration presents an exhibit and showcase of the Alfred Conteh painting, Mary P. The acrylic paint and atomized steel dust on canvas rendering will grace the center’s Woodruff Lobby courtesy of BAIA and the Najee and Seteria Dorsey collection.

“The Bo Bartlett Center at Columbus State University has dedicated space in the Woodruff Lobby to serve as a spotlight for our national and regional partners in arts,” explained Michael McFalls, Interim Director of the Bo Bartlett Center. “The concept for this project is to showcase some of the best artworks from our partner’s collections and to develop a synergy between these arts organizations that will lift and raise awareness about the creative community nationally. It’s our pleasure to launch this project with our partner Black Art in America to exhibit and showcase Alfred Conteh’s Mary P painting.” 

Conteh, a classically trained artist and Georgia native, is known for his engaging and conversational style that brings the stories and experiences of African Americans to the forefront. An astute recorder of Black Southern life through intimate portraiture, Conteh reflects the artistic traditions of Charles White and Barkley Hendricks while featuring everyday people in implicit conversations. 

In a masterful dialogue, clever banter, colorful tones, and audible calls and responses take place,” once penned art journalist, Chenoa Baker, of the works of Conteh. “The best conversations paint a multi-sided exchange of acknowledgement, listening, and nuance brought into the conversation. This is precisely what Alfred Conteh does with his artwork.” The realistic portrayals of Conteh’s subjects, continued Baker, “delineate the circumstances of black life as more than merely theoretical, as scholarship on the condition of the people might suggest; their conditions are existential. While these are no more than portraits of everyday people, Conteh uses technique and style to suggest that there is conversation to be had underlying what the viewer can readily see.”

For decades, Najee and Seteria Dorsey have cultivated a passion for collecting art and objects of cultural and aesthetic value while building the international brand of BAIA, the leading online portal and media company focused on African American Art. The Dorsey collection to date consists of over 400 works in various mediums and genres by both legacy and leading contemporary artists. In January 2021, Najee, BAIA’s CEO and founder, joined the board of the Bo Bartlett Center. 

Since 2010, Black Art in America has recorded and championed the substantial contributions of the African American arts community. 

You can learn more about the Bo Bartlett Center here.