SRU Celebrates Black History Month with ‘A Sin of Omission’

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On Monday, February 3rd, the Martha Gault Art Gallery hosted its opening reception for A Sin of Omission, by Professor Pierre Bowins. This exhibition was presented just in time for Black History Month, as Bowins presents the Black American diaspora missing in the history of graphic design. In order to open a dialogue for all artists, the exhibition provides enlightenment regarding these designers who have contributed to the field of graphic design yet have been omitted from its history.

Pierre currently holds the position of Assistant Professor in Studio Art at The University of Maryland Eastern Shore. He is a lifelong maker and self-proclaimed design historian. His design and teaching methods utilize research-based theories to assist in the discovery of personal, cultural, and historical identities while implementing design ideas within analog and digital media. His research largely focuses on exploring the history of graphic design and investigating the unbalance that exists within design history. Pierre holds a Master of Fine Arts from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art. He is an active member of his local Americas Institute of Graphic Arts, chapter, College Arts Association, and University and College Designers Association.

With his exhibition, Bowins hopes to provide his audience with a, “sense of enlightenment regarding the plethora of Black American designers who have contributed to the field of graphic design, yet have been omitted from Design History.” His work focuses on many designers, including Charles C. Dawson, Charles Harrison, Georg Olden, Thomas Miller, and more.

“My journey put me on the path of searching for the Black American diaspora missing from the history of Graphic Design,” Bowin writes in his abstract. “I want my work to open a dialogue for designers, especially Black American designers. My goal is to share the knowledge and respect I have gained from uncovering these inspiring designers. I want to challenge the existing notion and amend the current Design History canon.”

Students, faculty members, and the Slippery Rock community joined together in the Martha Gault Art Gallery to admire Bowins work and enjoy some refreshments. They also were able to write what impact this art project had on their thoughts about diversity and inclusion. One guest wrote, “Discrimination and hate are very powerful and dangerous. Being open-minded, kind, and inclusive has the potential to go very far in our society.”

Another guest leaves their remarks on the impact of this exhibition. “This show is a beautiful homage to those who have contributed to the field of graphic design. Thank you Pierre.”

A Sin of Omission is on view until February 27th, 2020 at the Martha Gault Art Gallery. The Martha Gault Art Gallery is sponsored by the Art Department, The College of Liberal Arts, and by the Student Government Association. Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.


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