Third Eye by Mario Joyce Belyusar, 2019, Painting: Oil on canvas, 24 x 18 in. (61 x 45.7 cm)
“Mama Can You Braid My Hair…” shows two unintentional sitters on the 1 train at the Harlem-125th stop, a mother and her daughter, who were probably homeless. The mother’s face was frozen with worry, while her child was full of joy, surrounded by all their belongings. She looked up and asked, “Mama will you braid my hair like yours?” and without hesitation her mother opened her lap and lovingly began to braid her hair.
Mario Joyce Belyusar is a self-taught African American artist living in New York City. His artistic process began early and was heavily influenced by religious and racial prejudice experienced in rural Ohio. He began using both genealogical research and paint to further understand and share the social history of discrimination. After a moving to New York City, he is furthering his studies in the African diaspora and how American History is steeped in selective storytelling that neglects to share the experiences of marginalized communities. His work is characterized by vibrant colors, strong line and heavy texture. A collage of vintage materials is typically apart of his process. Mario has exhibited his work in many group exhibitions, including most recently at Local Project and Departure Studios in Queens, New York City and Bellevue College in Seattle, Washington. His work is privately owned by many collectors throughout the U.S. “I collage vintage materials as a background for landscapes and figures in oil paint that create an open dialogue with our Ancestors.” Mario is specifically interested in the African American experience and social injustice within the Black community. His work is intended to create a bridge between our ancestor’s experiences and our familiar contemporary existence. He is specifically interested in the African American experience and social injustice within the Black community. He believes that without an understanding of our past, we have no real grip on the present, so his working process begins with genealogical research.