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Tokie Rome-Taylor: Reclamations
August 28 - October 13, 2023

Tokie Rome-Taylor

The New Gallery at APSU to open exhibition season with ‘Reclamations’ by Tokie Rome-Taylor

Tokie Rome-Taylor
The New Gallery, with support from Austin Peay State University (APSU)’s Department of Art + Design and The Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts, is kicking off the 2023-24 exhibition season with "Reclamations,” a solo-exhibition by Atlanta-based artist Tokie Rome-Taylor. 

This free, public exhibit will run from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. on weekdays from Aug. 28 – Oct. 13 at The New Gallery, located in the Art + Design Building on Austin Peay’s campus. There are several events associated with the exhibition: 

“Photographer and Georgia native Tokie Rome-Taylor focuses on the notion that perception of self and belonging begins in childhood,” said Michael Dickins, director of The New Gallery. “Children are the subjects she centers within her works, focusing on elevating representation omitted from mainstream ‘Western art history.’” 

Dickins said Rome-Taylor's work stems from ethnographic and historical research, probing the material, spiritual and familial culture of the descendants of Southern slaves. 

“[Those] serve as entry points for her to build symbolic elements in her photographs,” Dickins said. “The sitters' family heirlooms, and recollections of family history, are combined with historical research focused on the lives of Africans brought to the Americas. This combination creates a visual language that speaks to our shared history and sparks conversation around material wealth, familial and cultural traditions of African Americans in the South. 

In addition, Dr. Rhea Combs, the director of curatorial affairs at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., will write the essay for the exhibition.  

“Dr. Combs’ writings have been featured in anthologies, academic journals and exhibition catalogues on a range of topics including African American female filmmakers, Black popular culture, visual aesthetics, filmmaking and photography,” Dickins said. “It’s important to me to create connections between artists and writers – especially ones that pair up so nicely. I couldn’t be happier that Dr. Combs has agreed to include her voice towards this exhibition.”    

About the artist: 

Tokie Rome-Taylor earned her Bachelor of Arts from Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia, and her Master of Arts in Education and Education Specialist degree from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her work is held in multiple private and institutional collections including the MOCA GA, The Fralin Museum at UVA and the Southeastern Museum of Photography. She has an extensive national and international exhibition record including the Atlanta Contemporary, the Fralin Museum, The Southeastern Museum of Photography, The Griffin Museum of Photography, SP-Foto SP-Arte Fair in São Paulo, Brazil and the Zuckerman Museum of Art, among others. 

“Children are the subjects that I use within all of the works that I create,” Rome-Taylor said. “I choose children deliberately - as children enter the world as blank slates and what they see, hear and experience shapes who they are.”  

With each of her works, Rome-Taylor said she is building on her own childhood experiences.  

“I remember visiting the High Museum of Art in Atlanta as a child and not seeing any images that looked like me and feeling that I did not belong in this space,” she said. “That feeling resonated with me, and as an artist, I want to change that narrative and show that these children do belong in these museums, or institutional spaces, and that my children - and students - do belong there.” 

Rome-Taylor currently lives and works in Atlanta. You can learn more about her work on her website or follow her on Instagram: @tokiestudio. 

About The New Gallery: 

The New Gallery is Austin Peay State University's 1,500-square-foot white cube contemporary art gallery operated by the Department of Art + Design. The New Gallery brings in nationally and internationally recognized contemporary artists for exhibitions, lectures, workshops, class visits and studio visits with students.  

Hours for The New Gallery are from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday – Friday. The gallery is closed on weekends and holidays and follows the University’s academic calendar. For more information on this exhibition, contact Michael Dickins, director of The New Gallery, at dickinsm@apsu.edu.