About the Exhibition
Black Wall Street: A Modernized Revelation
In 2012, activist and abstract folk artist Dawn Tree was moved to create a body of work engaging the historic massacre outside Tulsa, OK, popularly known as “Black Wall Street”. The massacre, which took place in the summer of 1921, swelled in brutal force as white residents murdered hundreds of black residents and razed Greenwood (a thriving African American neighborhood) in the span of a few hours.
Dawn Tree, who attended high school in Oklahoma, focuses her mind on the tragedy and the current state of Black Tulsa whenever she revisits the state. Though her work takes her across the country and around the globe, she remains actively engaged in matters of justice and equity in Tulsa through her relationship with the Greenwood Cultural Center, the Black Wall Street Chamber, the Black Wall Street Market and other entities. This engagement has enabled her to see the profound oppression that persists in Tulsa.
Dawn Tree created the first piece in this series (“Ain't Natural”) in 2012, and has added nine works since. She also maintains a vibrant artistic practice in abstract works, which are hosted on wood using heavy latex acrylic and feature found objects.
Two of her great inspirations are Jackson Pollock & Jean Michel Basquiat.
Dawn Tree hopes that her work related to Black Wall Street and to the rebuilding efforts that took place less than five years after the massacre will bring fresh attention to this often marginalized and ignored history. The art she has created through archived photos, journalistic findings, and imaginative assemblage causes this tragic history to come to life. Tree’s ultimate hope is that this work might open minds and erupt conversation that brings real change.