Aissatou’s predisposition for asking questions and conducting research influence her understanding of contemporary art. As a regional manager of human resource education, Stewart’s approach is complementary, with a critical eye emphasizing nuances in individual works and the conversations they inspire across exhibitions.
In 2014, the couple presented the exhibition "Her America" that brought selections from their collection to a broad audience at the Carver Community Cultural Center in San Antonio, Texas.
The following year, with Stewart’s assistance, Aissatou curated a joint project for Gemini Ink and the Southwest School of Art, "Familiar Institutions: B(l)ack Talk", that
featured six African American women artists (Bernice Appelin-Williams, Lauren Cross, Tonya Engel, Letitia Huckaby, Lovie Olivia, and Deborah Roberts) in response to literary works by award-winning poet Khadijah Queen.
In 2019, Aissatou curated "Re/Devaluing Colorism: Intersections of Skin Color & Currency," an exhibition that featured artwork by 14 Women of Color visual artists (African-American, Korean, Taiwanese, Indian, and Afro-Mexican) and the debut of a commissioned poetry-song-dance performance, and edited an exhibition catalogue that included artwork, poetry, essays and hands-on family activities, for the Southwest School of Art.
Their collection, with a focus on African-American female artists, has grown with their research into the history of exhibitions and introductions to artists by Dallas retired arts administrator, curator and artist Vicki Meek; Houston curator and art historian Dr. Alvia Wardlaw; and others, such as gallerists Dr. Stella Jones in New Orleans and Carlton Wilkinson Nashville. The Blantons are frequent visitors to galleries and exhibitions. They meet artists to gain insight into their inspirations, working methods, and the complex historical and cultural contexts of their work.
SELECTED EXHIBITS, RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS
Curator, "Re/Devaluing Colorism: Intersections of Skin Color & Currency" exhibition that featured artwork by 14 Women of Color visual artists, the debut of a commissioned performance by Artist Foundation of San Antonio’s 2019 People’s Choice Award winner poet/songstress Andrea "Vocab" Sanderson and professor/choreographer/artistic director of W-I-P Amber Ortega, and an exhibition catalogue, Southwest School of Art, December 13, 2019 - April 5, 2020.
Curator, "Not so Invisible 7%: San Antonio's Peoples of African Descent," exhibition with SMART 501(c)3 featuring 10 members of the San Antonio Ethnic Art Society and Bernice Appelin-Williams, Cevallos Lofts (San Antonio, Texas), March 2018- February 2019.
Guest Writer, “Reclamations and Dislocation: Bernice Appelin-Williams honors the Discards,” International Review of African American Art, Hampton University, guest-edited by UTSA Professor of African-American Art and History Scott Scherer, volume 21, issue 1, in production March 2017.
Curator, "10 African Americans who give Words a Central Place in their Visual Art," online exhibition featuring Christopher Blay, Michael Ray Charles, Nathaniel Donnett, Maren Hassinger, Robert Hodge, Ann “Sole Sister” Johnson, Annette Lawrence, Glenn Ligon, Vicki Meek, Kadir Nelson, Adrian Piper, Faith Ringgold, Deborah Roberts, and Hank Willis Thomas, at (http://geminiink.org/14-african-americans-who-give-words-a-central-place-in-their-visual-art/), with podcast feature on Annette Lawrence, Gemini In, February 2017.
Curator, "Familiar Institutions: B(l)ack Talk that featured artwork selected from 6 Contemporary African American women artists (Bernice Appelin-Williams, Lauren Cross, Tonya Engel, Letitia Huckaby, Love Olivia, Deborah Roberts) in response to poems by award-winning African-American poet Khadijah Queen, Southwest School of Art (pop up exhibit) September 11-14, 2015 and Gemini Ink gallery September 15-November 4, 2015.
Curator, “Her America,” an exhibit that featured 20 female artists of African-American descent and guest talk by Dr. Amalia Amaki (former curator of the Paul R. Jones Collection of African American Art at the Univ. of Delaware), Carver Community Cultural Center (San Antonio, Texas), July 2014. per Carver executives, had one of the largest openings in the agency’s history. The exhibit was featured in KLRN’s “Arts,” Texas Public Radio, and San Antonio Express-News.
Author, “Couple Builds San Antonio’s Reputation for African-American Art,” profile of Harriet Kelley and Dr. Harmon Kelley, who were the bellwethers that launched the most recent interest in fine art by African-American artists, Blackbook Directory & Yearbook, 2013-20114.
Contributing Writer, “Nurturing Tomorrow’s Artists,” Black Focus magazine, May 2014.
Contributing Writer, “Building and Art Collection from the Ground Up,” Black Focus magazine, February 2014.
San Antonio Ethnic Art Society Abaraka Awards Committee 19141 Stone Oak Parkway Box #104 San Antonio, Texas 78232
210/863-3497 * Saeas.Tx@gmail.com