On July 8th a public program is being presented as part of Onnie Millar: Making Art With Communities, at Long Island University’s Kumble Theatre, from 2-4. Also joining Ms. Millar for the reading are artist Deborah Singletary and activist Khari Russell. At 87, Onnie Millar belongs to a generation of Black Brooklyn artists who came of age during a time of virulent racism and sexism. Using her creativity and commitment to community, Onaway Millar, like many Black artists and people, “found a way out of nowhere”, and in the process became a formidable artist.
Ms. Millar’s sculptural Rock People, pendants and wall hangings are powerful, lyrical, sometimes whimsical, and all pay homage to the challenges faced by Black people and tribute to their triumphant spirit, especially Black women and children. Millar’s works include pen-and-ink drawings, paintings, hand-painted jewelry, sculpture made from natural, recycled and reused materials, as well as textiles. Ms.Millar is also a writer of prose and poetry. Millar’s creativity and commitment has earned her a loyal following of Black women who purchased her work. One educator whose collection is featured in the exhibition, purchased the first “rock baby”, and a piece each year for nearly two decades.
For more than sixty years, Onnie Millar was in the forefront of the Black Arts Movement in Brooklyn. She has shared her thoughtful and creative use of the earth’s resources with legions of arts educators and our children through her work with the Weeksville Heritage Center, the Brooklyn Museum Education Departments, the Muse Community Museum and the Restoration Youth Arts Department Throughout the ’60s and ’70s, Millar worked with, Where We’re At: Black Women Artists and other women’s collectives.
Onnie Millar: Making Art With Communities and the July 8th Public Program, 2-4 at LIU, were made possible with the generous support of the Independence Community Foundation, the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation and Long Island University. The July 8th program is free and open to the public and will also feature: a performance by members of the legendary Great Day Chorale, under Louvinia Pointer, iconographic workshop demonstration where Ms.Millar will be assisted by artists Damali Miller and Mary Chang, and an interview and taping of Ms. Millar by the Weeksville Heritage Center for their educational archives. Claudine K. Brown, arts administrator and Jacqui D. Woods, cultural arts activist, organized the exhibition and public program with the “Friends & Family of Onnie Millar.”