An art exhibit at Texas A&M University-San Antonio aims to educate on the experience of being a Black man or youth in San Antonio.
“Living in My Skin: Black men in San Antonio tell their stories” by local artist and advertising pioneer Lionel Sosa opened Feb. 1 and runs through Feb. 10 in the auditorium lobby at A&M-San Antonio. Thirty-five oil portraits will be on display 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
A San Antonio native, Sosa is a marketing consultant, author and portrait artist who was named “One of the 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America” by Time Magazine. Sosa founded Sosa, Bromley, Aguilar & Associates, which became the largest Hispanic advertising agency in the U.S. Today it is Bromley Communications.
He said the exhibit was inspired by the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
“It was right after George Floyd’s death,” Sosa said in a phone interview on Jan. 27. “I saw a poster on the window that said, ‘You can’t be anti-racist unless you’re actively anti-racist.’”
The exhibit includes portraits of two members of the A&M-San Antonio community as a gift to the school. They are Dr. Ernest Thomas, special education lecturer in the Department of Educator and Leadership Preparation, and Michael Johnson, who was part of the first freshman class in 2016 and obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business at age 22.
Sosa said Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson, president of A&M-San Antonio, reached out to him to host the exhibit on campus when she first heard of it. Thomas and Johnson were included in the portraits at the request of the school, Sosa said.
The exhibit’s executive producers are Brandon A. Logan and Seymour Battle.
Logan, CEO of Urban Capital Partners, said society needs to get comfortable with talks about race.
“We should begin to get comfortable with having conversations around race,” Logan said in a phone interview on Jan. 27. “It needs to be normalized in the workplace, in your household, because that’s the only way we will start to get a sense of what it’s like to live in other people’s shoes.”
The idea for the exhibit came full circle after Sosa posed that very question when Logan introduced him to Battle, a senior vice president at Valero Energy.
Sosa recalled broaching a conversation about their experiences as Black men.
“What’s it like for you?” Sosa asked.
“Let me tell you about the daily challenge of living in my skin,” Logan replied.
The exhibit consists of a variety of individuals from students to professional businessmen.
“We aspire to realize that (the exhibit) is fostering and ushering in a new layer of conversation where people are being deliberate about what’s being communicated to each other in a thoughtful and empathetic way,” Logan said
For more information about the exhibit, visit https://tamusa.campuslabs.com/engage/event/6786127.