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Black Wall Street Gallery’s sixth installment is a stunner

The work of artists Western Doughty and Christina Henley is on display through February at the Black Wall Street Gallery as part of the Conciliation Series.

Blayklee Freed

After six installments of a groundbreaking art exhibitions and droves of visitors (including Method Man!) the Black Wall Street Gallery is still experiencing firsts.

The Conciliation Series at the BWS Gallery features a pair of artists every month—one black artist and one white artist—designed to spark engagement between Tulsa’s black and white communities. This month features work from Christina Henley and Western Doughty. Like the duos of artists before them, Henley and Doughty didn’t know each other before participating in the exhibition. They met at the opening, where Doughty bought one of Henley’s pieces.

“That was the first time one of the pairs purchased a piece from the other,” said Dr. Ricco Wright, curator of the gallery and chairman of the Black Wall Street Arts nonprofit.

Doughty bought “We Three Kings (Stand Your Ground),” a mixed-media sculpture inspired by the killing of Trayvon Martin. The centerpiece of the work is a hoodie-clad mannequin fastened to the wall. Plastic molds of guns in the shape of Florida are positioned underneath, with cans of Arizona Iced Tea and piles of loose Skittles spilled on the ground below.

Henley specifically made “We Three Kings” for the BWS Gallery. Her other work on display includes metal sculptures, pastel drawings, and a multitude of other media—one thing Wright said was so unique about her work. “Christina is the most versatile artist we’ve had in the gallery,” he said.

Henley’s ability to use a variety of media is rooted in practicality. “It mostly depends on what I have access to, because I don’t have a designated studio,” she said. “If I’m trying to come up with something, I’ll think about what materials I have easy access to create a piece and what I’m wanting to portray.”

Doughty’s work speaks to the diverse Tulsa experience, Wright said. Shot from the same wide angle at the QuickTrip at 11th Street and Utica Avenue, each photo exposes the variety of people and stories that make up Tulsa.

“I like to people watch,” Doughty said. “I’ll just sit there and observe—[that’s how] this story fell into place. A lot of people think [that] QuikTrip is sketchy, and it’s really not. If you want to see a microcosm of Tulsa, it’s probably the best place to go. It’s really one of the few places in Tulsa that’s integrated.”

Artists for the Conciliation Series are slotted through August. Next month’s installment will feature the work of Stacie Monday and Marjorie Atwood. Until then, you can catch the current installation at Black Wall Street Gallery, 101 N. Greenwood Ave.

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