Published on: Wednesday, January 4, 2023 Arts & Humanities

"One Day My Soul Just Opened Up" Art Exhibition at the Takoma Park Community Center

One Day My Soul Just Opened Up Art Exhibition

On view until March 15 

Takoma Park Community Center

7500 Maple Avenue 

Four Black female artists will share their diverse range of work exploring the spiritual world views of African heritage in a new Takoma Park Arts exhibition titled One Day My Soul Just Opened Up: African-American Women and the Black Sacred Cosmos. The featured artists include Debra Jean Ambush, Nikki Brooks, Joan M. E. Gaither, and Anike Robinson.

The exhibition is curated by Brendan Smith, the City of Takoma Park’s arts and humanities coordinator. “I usually choose the theme for an exhibition, but I asked the artists to collaborate on the focus of this show since the work is deeply personal to them and their shared experiences,” he said.

The exhibition addresses a distinct variety of viewpoints regarding the notion of a Black Sacred Cosmos, a time-honored reverential space in which the realm of ancestors and the divine inspire resilience and memory among their descendants. As an expression of how we perceive our sustaining spiritual centers, this convening of an Afro-Futuristic ‘visual dance’ invites viewers to consider the imprint of the African-centered aesthetic on our daily lives.

Debra Ambush, PhD, is an artist and researcher who lives in Ijamsville, Md. Through the mediums of printmaking, painting, and mixed media, her figurative and landscape work expresses family narratives about her experiences growing up during the Civil Rights Movement, as well as examining the vital importance of family, faith, and heritage as a source of resiliency.

Nikki Brooks, who was born in Brooklyn and raised in Spotsylvania County, Va., creates installations and assemblage infused with digital and audio elements, paintings, sculpted text, and collage. Her work focuses on social activism and art that encourages viewers to explore the interconnected forms of writing, storytelling, and shared dialogue.

Joan M. E. Gaither, PhD, is a native Baltimorean who helped integrate local schools and businesses during the Civil Rights Movement. In more than 300 quilts, she has used meaningful fabrics, traditional patterns, collaged text, and images to tell narrative personal stories and collective histories that need to be remembered.

D.C.-based artist Anike Robinson delves deeply into Black cultures and histories across time and geographies to engage in conversations about home, memory, ritual, representation, and gender. Her Gris Gris Gurlz mixed-media series tells the stories of Black people who escaped the death camps of the South for the autonomy of maroon societies.

This exhibition, which will be on view until March 15, is part of the Takoma Park Arts series organized by the City’s Arts and Humanities Division. The series includes free art exhibitions, film screenings, poetry readings, concerts, theater, and dance performances at the Takoma Park Community Center. Go to for more info and to sign up for our e-newsletter.