The Hampton University Museum Presents: Whoosah Exhibit

slang expression variously used to indicate or achieve a state of calm and relaxation.
Exhibition Dates:
October 21, 2022 – Ongoing
Artists Featured:
Lillian T. Burwell      Junius Redwood  
Sam Gilliam        Frank Smith
Howardena Pindell   Hubert C. Taylor

Art can be the most effective tool to use in order to relax and meditate. Considering how fast the world moves around us, it is often a luxury to be able to take the time to reflect. 

Whoosah is an exhibition that seeks to provide a space where the viewer can become engrossed in artwork that embody different rhythms. The exhibition highlights six contemporary artists working in their own styles of abstraction. The works, all from Hampton University Museum’s permanent collection, present an opportunity to actively engage and connect with the viewer. The audience is invited to envision what they feel, see, or hear through these unique compositions. From vivid geometric lines to smooth brush strokes, each work presented offers a different avenue of expression and reflection.

Sam Gilliam (1933 – 2022) was a painter who advocated to create space for Black artists in the Modern art movement of the 1960s-70s. Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, Gilliam also went on to become one of the more prominent figures from the Washington Color School, a visual art movement composed of artists who worked primarily in abstract expressionism. In the 1960s, Gilliam was regarded as the first artist to create his work using unsupported canvas, creating more organic forms.

Howardena Pindell (1943 – ) is a Philadelphia mixed media artist and art educator. Pindell’s work has been featured in exhibitions at Spelman College, Studio Museum in Harlem, Whitney Museum of American Art, and many more. From mixed media collages, drawings, and paintings, Pindell pushes the boundaries of the materials she uses, creating unique compositions that have a dynamic and almost tactile energy. 

Lillian T. Burwell (1927 – ) is a sculptor and painter from Washington, DC, whose work often combines the two mediums into dream-like and eclectic forms. Burwell has remained an active supporter of the arts community, having befriended and worked alongside figures such as Alma Thomas, Felrath Hines, and Benjamin Abramowitz. In addition to her work as an experienced artist, Burwell has worked as a prominent curator, art educator, activist, and graphic designer for decades. 

Junius Redwood (1917 – 1991) was an artist and art educator from Columbus, Ohio, whose career spanned various decades. In the 1940s, Redwood attended Hampton University (then called Hampton Institute) and studied under the direction of the chair of the art department, Dr. Viktor Lowenfeld. While his work is in various permanent collections and has traveled to places like the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Redwood remained an active community member of the Hampton Roads area.

Frank Smith (1939 – ) is an artist, art professor, and one of the original members of AfriCOBRA (African Coalition of Black Revolutionary Artists), a coalition of artists who have worked to explore and define the visual culture of the Black diaspora. Like other AfriCOBRA artists, Smith uses bold and vibrant forms and colors in order to present a sense of energy, rhythm, and spirit. A native of Chicago, Illinois, Smith’s work can be found in various collections, galleries, and museums around the nation.  

Hubert C. Taylor (1937 – 1991) was an accomplished artist and architect from Kilmarnock, Virginia whose work overtly combined his interests for both fields. In 1983, Taylor became a founding member of Recherche, a Philadelphia-based coalition of artists who sought to foster creative freedom for Black artists who often faced exclusion. Taylor was also a 1959 graduate of the Architecture program at Hampton University and would later go on to be the head architect for three of the buildings on the campus, such as the William R. and Norma B. Harvey Library.

Founded in 1868, the Hampton University Museum is the nation’s oldest African American museum.

With galleries dedicated to African American, African, American Indian and Asian and Pacific art and artifacts, the museum contains more than 9,000 objects representing cultures and people from around the world. Within its fine arts collection is the largest existing museum collection of works by artists John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, and Samella Lewis.

The Hampton University Museum is located in the Huntington Building on the Hampton University campus. From Interstate 64, take exit 267/Hampton University and follow the signs to the museum. Admission is free. 

Exhibit Location: Blue Gallery, 

1st Floor of Hampton University Museum


Hours: Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm

Closed on all major holidays