For over 30 years, Dwight Smith has been a dedicated artist who has established a career nationally and internationally. In his work Smith presents four very different and distinct themes: abstract imagery, landscapes, textiles and mask-like forms. He investigates artistic exploration and examines issues of spirituality through the use of Adinkra symbols found in the Akan culture of West Africa.
In 1985 he exhibited work in a group exhibition in Dakar Senegal and in 1996 several of his works toured North Africa in a group exhibition for USIA. In 1999, he received critical acclaim for his solo exhibition, Peintures (Paintings) held at the L’Escalier Gallery in Aurillac, France. Prior to his success abroad, Smith’s works were presented exhibitions and galleries for audiences in Michigan, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Virginia, New York, and other states. In Fayetteville his work could be seen at the Art & Soul Gallery and The Green Light Gallery.
In February his works could be seen at the 2008 National Black Fine Art Show at The Puck Building, SoHo, New York City. He is currently showing in a group exhibition entitled "Detroit: Contemporary Works on Paper", which is part of the American Cities Series at the Brandywine Workshop Center for the Visual Arts in Philadelphia, PA. His work is being shown in several traveling group exhibitions developed by the National Conference of Artists Michigan Chapter which were exhibited at the Fayetteville Museum of Art. His works were also exhibited at the museums’ Gallery 208 earlier this year.
Before moving to Fayetteville, he was formerly employed as an art director, graphic designer and corporate archivist for a large insurance company. Smith has also worked as a guest curator and arts consultant on projects for many cultural institutions in the Detroit area. His extensive arts background has resulted in a number of accolades, honors and awards, and the inclusion of his works in numerous public and private collections.
Smith is a member of the National Conference of Artists (NCA) a national organization of African American artists, art educators, curators and historians. Smith has held positions with NCA as the national president, president of the Michigan Chapter and Board member of that Chapter. He is also a member of the Fayetteville Arts Guild.
Office: Rosenthal Building, Room 103a
Since the late 1980’s, I have been creating artwork thematically described as Ancestral Reflections or Ancestral Dialogues. The works are personal reflections about family history, social interactions and sometime a political statement or two. My works, while adhering to philosophical and stylistic tenets of abstract expressionism, significantly draw inspiration from elements of design visible in African masks, multistrip textiles, shields, body cicatrizations, ideograms, and other material manifestations of African folkways. I am fond of using the Adinkra symbols… which are a visual language from Ghana and each of the symbols has a positive message…. Such inspirational sources have become metaphors for my rich cultural heritage and the catalysts for my art making processes.
In making art, I always enjoy working in a variety of mediums; meaning acrylic, oil, watercolor and collage techniques. I like listening to my inner soul and the visual responses that are evoked in and through the compositions being created, and following the paths to where they will lead me. This is always exciting and very challenging.
My newer works are revealing a quest or focus that is part of an intergenerational pursuit of creative ideas, thoughts and observations, ways of seeing spatial realities, color and light. Many works are celebrations of life or tributes to artists I currently know or have been fortunate enough to meet. Others will comprise certain social realities concerning the world of African American Art Histories and other global perspectives.
Selected Public Collections: