Finding Fatherhood

The truth of what it means to be a father is examined through the works of nine African-American artists. Absence, presence, and the space between are featured in Presence, a virtual exhibit from ZuCot Gallery in Atlanta.

It’s in the Waiting (above)
Charlotte Riley-Webb

At ZuCot Gallery in Atlanta, African-American artists are illuminating the emotions of Black men who have taken on the role of fatherhood. Their paintings examine relationships with fatherhood and inspire us to consider our own in Presence, a virtual exhibit made possible with Microsoft.

The artists are women and men, grandfathers and fathers, and those loved by them. They include Aaron F Henderson, who examines how his father and grandfather dealt with the complexities of being a Black father in America, as well as his own role as a father. Artist Charlotte Riley-Webb reflects the close bond between fathers and their children by honoring her father and late husband—the most important men in her life. And as a father of three, Steve Prince celebrates the bravery of female students who broke down the walls of segregation in American educational institutions.

The media narrative of Black fatherhood has often focused on absence, even though this was disproved by a 2013 CDC study. The hope is that Presence can help change that narrative by acknowledging the importance of being a father.

Growing up, you recognize your absence in public spaces. You don’t see images of yourself anywhere. What we see is what becomes true.
Onaje Henderson
ZuCot Gallery

Third shift
Georgette Baker

About ZuCot

Founded by art lovers Troy Taylor, Onaje Henderson, and Omari Henderson, ZuCot Gallery is the largest African-American owned fine arts gallery in the southeast. Despite its popularity, Black artists are still underrepresented in the art world. ZuCot’s mission is to expand the reach of African-American art in the US and globally. Presence helps achieve this goal by being available virtually and in person.

ZuCot Brothers

ZuCot Gallery believes what you hang on your walls is a reflection of you, a window into your soul, character, and beliefs. Novice and seasoned collectors are invited to explore the gallery and find their favorite pieces. Owning original African-American art is an experience that can be deeply spiritual.

Even in absence, their presence can be felt. The love is different. Often realized years later after lessons have been put to use, a good father’s love and support shines. Fatherhood is complex, a combination of love, laughter, protection, and determining when to let your guard down and just be… Dad. It’s sometimes built on the uneasy foundations of unresolved traumas spanning from slavery to now, years of suppressed emotions from being forced to choose family safety over violence, and the hope that the next generation will do it just a little better than the former.

Experience Presence