In Conversation with Karla Ferguson-Soimaud: Creating a Hub for Social Thought in Miami

Gallery Gurls · August 2016

Yeelen Gallery, located in Miami's Little Haiti, is more than just a commercial art gallery, but a powerful space that nurtures political thought, social advancement, and community building. Owned and operated by Karla Ferguson-Soimaud, Yeelen Gallery boasts an impressive roster of artists rooted in exploring race, class, and gender at the intersection of visual arts. Notable painters such as Tim Okamura, Sylvia Maier, and Patrick Earle Hammie use their canvases to examine narratives centered around female empowerment, gun violence, identity and sexuality. Their messaging and visual statements resonate with Yeelen's purpose and...

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Miami New Times · June 2016

Little Haiti is beginning to burst at the seams with new life. As galleries move north from Wynwood, this cultural enclave is quickly becoming the center for high art in the Magic City. One place that stays true to quality work, artists, and the neighborhood is Yeelen Gallery. It has been recognized by Vogueas a hidden gem to visit during Art Basel, and mentioned in the New York Times, so director Karla Ferguson and her husband, painter Jerome Soimaud, have much to be proud of. His exhibition "Black Freedom" described the faces...

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The Ten Best Art Galleries in Miami

Miami New Times · March 2016

1. Yeelen Gallery 294 NW 54th St., Miami Yeelen Gallery curator and owner Karla Ferguson was once a lawyer. She interned with the Innocence Project New Orleans, a nonprofit law office, which identifies and remedies wrongful conviction cases. Attorneys represent innocent prisoners serving life sentences and assist them with their transition into society upon their release. Ferguson has since looked toward the visual image as another way to counteract the "dehumanizing effects we've had over the past couple of centuries," she says. This weekend, Yeelen is gearing up to close "What's Inside Her Never...

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In Formation

Yeelen Gallery News · February 2016

In Formation by Lauren Hardie It’s not common among straight-haired little girls to be told that their hair is “bad” for being too “difficult.” Grown women all have their struggles, but seldom are those with straight hair told that their hairstyle, albeit clean and groomed, is too “unprofessional” for the workplace. Yet, every black woman has heard some variation of the aforementioned about her kinky-curly hair, often since childhood. Hair—and other parts of a black woman’s body, but in particular the thread-like strands that grow from her head—somehow became a...

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‘What’s Inside Her Never Dies’: Painting Black Beauty and Strength

NBC · January 2016

Yeelen Gallery director Karla Ferguson deployed something special at this year's Art Basel showcase: an exhibition exclusively exploring identities of black women. The exhibit, "what's INSIDE HER never dies…a Black Woman's Legacy," features portraits, drawings and larger-than-life paintings depicting women of color in various stages of the human experience. The perspectives range from everyday women to a series of familiar mothers of children who have been killed by police in the United States "The vision behind the exhibition was to show the beauty of women of color, not just physically...

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Miami’s Art World Sets Sights on Little Haiti Neighborhood

The New York Times · December 2015

Karla Ferguson, director of the Yeelen Gallery in Miami, with a portrait by her husband, Jerome Soimaud, called “Isis.” CreditRyan Stone for The New York Times. The New York Times Miami’s Art World Sets Sights on Little Haiti Neighborhood MIAMI — “Everybody’s always looking for the next art neighborhood,” mused Tony Cho, standing amid the scrum outside Gallery Diet. Taking in the scene at its opening night party here, he motioned to another new gallery across the street, its neon sign punctuating an otherwise darkened stretch of this city’s Little Haiti neighborhood....

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Art Basel Miami Beach: A Focus on Female Artists

The New York Times · November 2015

The New York Times Art Basel Miami Beach: A Focus on Female Artists There may come a day when having a critical mass of women featured in an art fair is no longer noteworthy, but we’re not there yet. So it’s worth noting that Art Basel Miami Beach, which starts next week, has a significant number of female artists. The Mary Boone Gallery will feature no fewer than five: Judith Bernstein, Sarah Charlesworth, Nancy Dwyer, Barbara Kruger and Laurie Simmons. Galerie Lelong is also highlighting five: Petah Coyne, with an early suspended sculpture from...

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5 Hidden Gems to Visit During Art Basel in Miami’s Little Haiti Neighborhood

Vogue · November 2015

5 Hidden Gems to Visit During Art Basel in Miami’s Little Haiti Neighborhood This week last year, a clever meme appeared on social media: “Want to know who’s at Art Basel? Don’t worry, they’ll fu**ing tell you.” And that’s not too far off—the annual art show has become a complete scene, to say the least, and while the 2015 fair beginning December 3 promises even more impressive art, extravagant parties, big-name DJs, and celebrity art neophytes, it also promises a little more attention paid to a quieter Miami neighborhood. Little Haiti,...

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Back to Black

October 2015

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Exhibit at Miami Gallery Focuses on “TransCuba”

HuffPost Arts & Culture · October 2015

President Obama announced in December diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba would begin to thaw. The Cuban flag was raised at the country's embassy in Washington, D.C. on July 20 the first time since 1961. And, the U.S. embassy in Havana reopened on August 14. "I think the thaw will ultimately decrease discrimination against trans people," New York-based artist and photographer Mariette Pathy Allen said. "Initially, it will make them richer because there will be more customers for sex workers. Then, as new relationships develop, they'll be exposed to new ways of thinking about relationships, and...

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African-Inspired Headwraps Evoke Pride, Rooted In History

WLRN · July 2015

With a series of twists, turns and tucks, Yasmine Abellard transforms a rectangular piece of African fabric into a pompadour-like wrap atop her head. She pairs the black and white patterned wrap with a simple black dress. “It makes me feel bold, fearless, fierce,” she said. Yasmine Abellard has been wrapping her hair since 2001. She said it makes her feel bold, fierce. CREDIT NADEGE GREEN / WLRN Abellard started wearing African-inspired headwraps more than 10 years ago. She said when she would travel to Haiti where she has family,...

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YEELEN Gallery Exhibition and PA Publication Collaboration

PoetsArtists · July 2015

Curator: Karla Ferguson Submission Deadline: September 15, 2015  Publication: November/December 2015 Acceptances Announced: October 2015 Art Delivery: November 10, 2015 Exhibition: Late November 2015 to February 2016 Gallery Reception: DATE TBA during Miami Art Basel Week (first week in December)   SUBMISSION CALL: what’s INSIDE HER never dies… a Black Woman’s Legacy Being a black woman is a journey oftentimes filled with pain and sorrow; so many have had to grieve and mourn the loss of loved ones: fathers, brothers, sons and daughters. The moment has come to pay tribute to these unique figures of our...

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The South Florida Experience from a Black Perspective

Blogging Black Miami · February 2015

Gallery Director Karla Ferguson Announces Provocative Exhibit Confronting America’s Racial Crisis By White French-American Artist Jerome Soimaud. Karla Ferguson, the Jamaican-born owner of Miami’s Yeelen Gallery, launched painter Jerome Soimaud’s "BlackFreedom" exhibit with an invite-only party at the gallery on February 14. The exhibit will be open for general viewing starting Wednesday, February 18 and will close May 2. "I’m proud to commemorate Black History Month with this exhibit," says the thirty-five year-old Ferguson, who worked as a law intern with the Innocence Project New Orleans before opening her celebrated gallery...

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Black Freedom

Vault of 1520 · May 2015

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ARTrek: Firelei Báez studio and the Yeelen Gallery · March 2015

Please join us for a studio visit with artist Firelei Báez and the Yeelen Gallery to experience the contemporary works of artists Firelei Báez and Jerome Soimaud. Exclusively for Museum Circle and PAMM Ambassadors for African American Art. Join today!

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Contemporary And · February 2015

Yeelen Gallery presents “Black Freedom,” a series of works by Miami-based artist, Jerome Soimaud, on view from February 18 to May 2, 2015. Known for his intricately detailed, large-scale works of charcoal and graphite on canvas, this exhibition features the pillars of the Civil Rights Movement in Miami, anchored by a tribute to the last hours of the iconic Jumbo’s Restaurant, a historic symbol of the undoing of American Jim Crow. “Black Freedom” functions as a critique on the socio-psychological atmosphere of the nation. “Black Freedom” is a continuation of the centuries old conversation on race in America and...

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For art aficionados, a new Wynwood emerges to the north

The Miami Herald · December 2014

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Art Is a Splash, Grand and Tiny, in Miami

The New York Times · December 2014

Photo Credit: Casey Kelbaugh, for The New York Times “My name is Richard, I’m from New York City, and I’m happy to be here in Art Basel Miami,” the singer Richard Kennedy, of the dance music act Hercules and Love Affair, announced into a mike late on Wednesday night, before launching into a spirited solo set for an eclectically dressed crowd, in a room surrounded by paintings. Technically speaking, though, Mr. Kennedy was not at Art Basel Miami, the annual art and design showcase held in Miami Beach. He was...

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Yeelen Gallery Continues to Offer Thought-provoking Art

HuffPost Arts & Culture · November 2014

The constructs of law and the concept of art formed a connection for attorney Karla Ferguson resulting in the Yeelen Gallery. I asked Ferguson, owner and director of the gallery, after almost a year in its location, what she wanted people to know. "I'd like people to know that we're here, and that we're doing work that has a social message," she shared with me during my visit to her artistic realm located at 294 N.W. 54th St., Miami in the area known as Little Haiti. "Art is here to...

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Tim Okamura: Love, Strength, & Soul · November 2014

Saturday, November 22nd at 7:30 pm Meet the Artist Tim Okamura  Exhibition on view November 22, 2014 - January 10, 2015 Yeelen Gallery presents Love, Strength, & Soul, a series of works by Brooklyn-based portrait artist, Tim Okamura. Known for his hyper-realistic, large-scale portraits of African-American women, the artist will present both as-yet-unseen new pieces alongside more familiar works, functioning as an introductory whirlwind to Okamura’s oeuvre. Employing a traditional painting style interwoven with contemporary elements, Okamura pays homage to graffiti, components of his Brooklyn community, and the subjects’ psychology. While each...

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Visual art: Artists’ talks, events make their works more accessible

Miami Herald · July 2014

At Yeelen Gallery ( in Miami, painter Joseph Adolphe was able to talk at length and individually to visitors last month at a catered sit-down dinner. Yeelen director Karla Ferguson and Prizm Art Fair director Mikhaile Solomon ( collaborated to present Adolphe’s vigorously textured figurative paintings for about 14 guests. Then, Adolphe conducted an exhibition tour. He characterized the event as a welcome counterpoint to traditional gallery openings where the artist “is usually engulfed in all kinds of frantic and socially difficult acrobatics with several people at a time.” Ideally, he...

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Yeelen Gallery is pleased to announce its representation of Patrick Earl Hammie. · June 2014

About the Artist Patrick Earl Hammie born in New Haven, Connecticuit 1981, is an artist best known for his monumental portraits related primarily to themes of identity, history, and narrative. Considering the potential paintings of the human figure have to reflect the values of the period in which they are produced, Hammie’s work investigates the expectations built into this canonical genre, probing and dismantling the idealizing impulses that have historically shaped it. Drawing on the emotive qualities of Romanticist painting and its use of heroic proportions to engage with political and humanistic expression, he focuses...

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Rest In Power Dr. Maya Angelou · May 2014

Photo Credit: KLRN ARTS Online Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size But when I start to tell them, They think I’m telling lies. I say, It’s in the reach of my arms, The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me. I walk into a room Just as cool as you please, And to a man, The fellows stand or Fall down on their...

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On the Occasion of Commemorating the Life and Contributions of Paul Robeson: The Role of the Artist-Activist · April 2014

Today, I was invited to pay tribute to one of our fearless scholar activist, Paul Robeson. As the African-American fellow in the United Nations Programme for People of African Descent in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, I was honored to share remarks on one of the finest scholar-activist that our community ever produced. Please allow me to share those remarks with you: “The poet or the revolutionary is there to articulate the necessity, but until the people themselves apprehend it, nothing can happen … Perhaps it can’t...

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Resurgence: Works from the Collection

Wallstreet International Magazine · February 2014

Yeelen Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of large format works by Tim Okamura, Jerome Soimaud, and T. Eliott Mansa. The subject of Figuration is approached as an enduring subject and a social vehicle for the evolution of human consciousness. The exhibition highlights the resurgence of Black Figuration in contemporary art practice. The portrayal of the Black figure has always been a subject of debate; who is allowed to depict it, in what form must it take, and how prolific should its impact be. Resurgence places Blackness at the...

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