OZ Arts Nashville Welcomes Past, Present, & Afrofuturism, a Visual Art Exhibit Featuring Works by Trailblazing Artist XPayne

Curated in partnership with Clarence Edwards, this group of works synthesizes African cultures, Western culture and Afrofuturism to create pieces that focus on the value of Black American influence on American culture.

Nashville, Tenn. – May 30, 2023 – Contemporary arts center OZ Arts Nashville today announced an exhibition of works titled Past, Present, & Afrofuturism by visionary artist and designer XPayne, a Nashville artist whose work can be found across the country, from Slim and Husky’s Pizza Beerias to HBO’s Insecure. The exhibit takes spectators on a journey through the Black American narrative, from its inception, through modern times and into an unknown future. The captivating visual art exhibit is open now through August 8.

Past, Present, & Afrofuturism, curated in partnership with Clarence Edwards, synthesizes themes from African cultures, Western culture and Afrofuturism to establish a new Black iconography. Historical symbolism is woven together with pop culture art techniques, making these paintings incredibly unique among present day artwork. Separated into three parts, Past, Present and Future, each series of paintings is meant to build upon the last like scenes in a play. The three parts together as one ask audiences to consider not only the accumulation of human achievements so far, but also the vast, unknown nature of the future ahead.

In a statement about the new exhibition, XPayne said:

As I focus on the Black experience, I find inspiration in mixing fantasy storytelling with an African spiritual system that is known to some and obscure to others in American culture. My intention with these works is to construct a story inspired by Yoruba that can expand the viewer’s idea of what is possible. This collection and Afrofuturism itself is ultimately about accepting and adapting to change.

“XPayne’s captivating and vibrant series of paintings challenges us all to expand our perspectives and dive into the history and experiences of Black Americans,” said Mark Murphy, Executive and Artistic Director at OZ Arts. “OZ is delighted to host this exhibit and expose Nashvillians to yet another opportunity to view XPayne’s nationally acclaimed work.”

Past, Present, & Afrofuturism is open now and will run through August 8, 2023. Art goers can view the exhibit by emailing OZ’s Manager of Artistic Programming, Daniel Jones, at daniel@ozartsnashville.org to make an appointment. To learn more about upcoming exhibits at OZ, please visit www.ozartsnashville.org.

About OZ Arts Nashville

Founded in 2013 by the Ozgener family, OZ Arts Nashville has quickly established itself as one of the Southeast's most influential and respected producers and presenters focused on the creation and presentation of significant performing and visual artworks by diverse cultural visionaries who are making vital contributions to the evolution of contemporary culture. Through performances, exhibitions, and community events, OZ Arts focuses on producing and presenting the work of local and visiting artists who reflect our diverse society, utilize new artistic forms and technology in creative ways, and provide opportunities for meaningful engagement with audiences, students and cultural and civic leaders. OZ Arts' unique creative warehouse has developed a reputation as a major national and regional laboratory for experimentation and a home for contemporary dance and performance. More than 50,000 audience members have been introduced to adventurous artists from around the world since the organization opened, and hundreds of local and regional artists have used OZ’s 10,000 square-foot warehouse theater to develop new works. For more information, please visit ozartsnashville.org.

About XPayne

Xavier Payne is an artist and designer who earned his BFA in Design in 2014. During the day, Xavier worked as a graphic artist for various companies. By night, he worked as a painter and illustrator, cultivating an audience and gaining the attention of high-profile clients. Since 2017, XPayne has worked as a full-time artist highlighting social and existential topics.

In 2022, XPayne was named “Best Artist of the Year” by the Nashville Scene following the success of his latest exhibition of works: Past, Present, and Afrofuturism, that debuted in August of the same year. He has been part of group shows and live engagements nationwide since 2014, and has completed projects for The Source Magazine, Spike Lee’s 40 Acres and a Mule Studio, and Complex.com.