Black History Month ART @ Chez Oskar on DEKALB


New painting collection inspired by mug shots of bus boycotters and freedom riders.
20% of sale proceeds to benefit art programs at the Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

Brooklyn, NY – February 16, 2009 During Black History Month, the French Bistro, Chez Oskar on Fort Greene’s Dekalb Avenue dedicates it’s walls to the bus boycotters of 1956 and freedom riders of 1961. Eight original mixed-media paintings created by artist and restaurant-owner Charlotta Janssen are based on mug shots of those arrested during pivotal moments of the civil rights movement – of people demanding desegregation and equal rights for all. The paintings are on view through the end of February at the restaurant Chez Oskar, 211 Dekalb Avenue (@ Adelphi Street) in the heart of Fort Greene, Brooklyn. 20% of all proceeds from the sale of the original artwork and prints will be donated to Brooklyn Community Arts and Media (BCAM), a privately funded public high school in Bedford Stuyvesant. According to the artist, who also donates her time with the students of the school, “BCAM is really full of loving teachers and is extremely serious about giving the children a chance at an exceptional education.”

Artist statement:

“In 2009 I felt the tactility of Black History Month. The inauguration of President Obama was such a wall of emotions that I think we had all hidden away in part for the last eight years and some of us even longer. It seems like sanity and truth had won over prejudice and fear, that we finally have an excellent man for a very difficult job who was empowering us and not just feeding us fear.

Personally I felt we could do with a little reminder of how hard the struggle for black people was/is by seeing faces of struggle. I had googled these mug shots on and just felt their proud anger and strength. Without their struggle I don’t think we’d be anywhere close to where we are now. I painted them and added collage of more mug shots, arrest records, bible pages, complaint letters, the civil rights act, Martin Luther King Jr.’s handwriting, John F. Kennedy’s handwriting, and a sermon written by an involved pastor, as well as photographs of Max Roach, burnt out buses, public city buses, segregation signs, anti segregation songs, slogans and lunch counters as a back drop of their amazing struggle.”

– Charlotta Janssen, February, 2009


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