Throughout February, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Harrison County Campus Fine Art Gallery is featuring the works of MGCCC alumnus Anthony Badon in an exhibit titled “Black Like it Never Left.” His solo exhibit is a capsule collection of paintings that showcase the return of old trends, hairstyles, and cultural references from the African American community that are incorporated into our modern culture.
“The theme was inspired by social media, actually,” Badon said. “I’ve noticed so many younger kids having fun exploring old music and fashion while the older generation stands on the side leaving comments like, ‘Oh, we used to wear our hair like that back in my day.’ It’s true when they say almost anything you do now is a remake of something from the past.”
Badon was born in McComb, and his family relocated to Gulfport when he was in the ninth grade. “Gulfport is home,” he said. “Though I wasn’t born in Gulfport, it raised me. So much of who I am now stems from here.”
He artistic journey began in studio classes at the Harrison County Campus. “I fell in love with painting in those classes,” he said. “I also discovered my love for color theory. Not to mention I made some lifelong friends there.”
He is now based in New Orleans and is a part of the thriving art community there. “The art scene of New Orleans is such a beautiful thing to behold. Everyone is so passionate and involved in the community,” he said.
He has recently worked with Red Bull, The Pelicans basketball team, and WhereYaArtworks for a project called “#NOLAHASWIIINGS.”
“We took old rundown basketball backboards from parks around the city and replaced them with new ones,” Badon said. “The old backboards were painted by local artists and hung in the Smoothie King Center.”
He describes his style as a mixture of realism and daydreams. “I say daydreams because my pieces usually come to me in dreams, hence the reason for the broken and unfinished nature of them,” he explained.
Badon continues to experiment with new styles and techniques and look for new venues for sharing his artwork. “My mission as an artist is to inspire others to love themselves, fully. Growing up Black wasn’t the easiest thing to do in South Mississippi,” he said. “I found myself suppressing my blackness and code-switching endlessly. I hope my artistic journey can show others that you can be you and still be successful in your endeavors.”
The show runs January 31- February 28, with a reception and artist’s talk on February 9, noon-1 p.m. Gallery hours are Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
The Harrison County Campus is located at 2226 Switzer Road in Gulfport. The art gallery is in the Fine Arts building, building D.
For more information, contact gallery director Cecily Cummings at firstname.lastname@example.org or 228.897.3909.