Celebrating words, art and culture, Pass It On brought veracious energy to Winston Contemporary Art Gallery on February 9th, 2019. Hosted by Outspoken Bean, the event showcased poetry, featured ground-breaking contemporary visual art, all while providing a creative hideaway for Houston’s up and coming artists. It’s no doubt that Pass It On was a success, lending its delicate venue to an audience that hung on to every syllable performed.
Although Winston Contemporary Art is a relatively small gallery, it provides space for visual artists to transform venturesome concepts into reality. The owner, Kevin Watson, is a former personal trainer who makes everyone feel at home when they walk into his gallery. From works that celebrate the community to abstract afro-futurism, WCA is a unique gallery that simultaneously pushes boundaries while breathing fresh air into Houston’s art scene.
“I don’t know if you know, but it’s black history month ladies and gentleman.” Outspoken Bean announced over a cheering audience. “And as the old Kanye said, I make black history month every month. So we’re gonna start off with some poetry celebrating black culture”.
Soon, the crowd was pulsing with energy, cheering for all the things that were true and huffing for all the things that hurt. The poets were unrelenting with no filter, covering topics from race to femininity; scornfully addressing years of oppression while celebrating black culture and spiritual liberation.
If anyone remained unmoved near the end of the event, the featuring poet Akeem Olja changed that. He recounted a powerful narrative of how he lived in a state of perpetual hurt with an intense vocal delivery that could probably be heard down the street. As a multiple National Poetry Slam Champion, Olja had the audience in the palm of his hand. Their hearts connected with him and his raw, fierce imagery painted a picture of what it must be like to be Akeem Olja.
Pass It On is every second Saturday of the month at WCA. The next one is on March 9th where they will be featuring a youth poetry slam starting at 6pm and the featured event will be at 8pm.
By Ryan Nickerson
Cover Photo: Winston Contemporary Art Gallery – Pass It On