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We Don't Wither
Ina B. Bond Gallery

Group Exhibition
April 1-Dec.18

Enter with Courage
Handle with Care
Learning Guide 

Launched 4.18.2023
Mrs. Ada Doss Campbell Day



antiracism, medical racism, mental health, black women, womens rights, civil rights, racial justice, anti-human erasure, reckoning, resistance, narrative, preservation, cultural memory, land, art, research, design, abstract, advocacy


  • Call Her Mrs.

  • Indecision

  • Out of the Void

  • Mourning Joy

  • Mending Fences

  • Deeply Rooted

  • Broken Vessels

  • Unearthed & Wilted

  • Interwoven

  • Come Hell or High Water

  • Outcry: Jubilee

  • Muddy Waters

behind the SCENES

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Gold Texture Smear

If you are in Louisville you must visit the Mohammad Ali Center and the poignant current “We Don’t Wither” art exhibit. The whole experience was extraordinary.


This is amazing





Enter with Courage
Handle with Care 

is an exhibition exploring the evolution of land & the many people that have been erased

from it.


we honor the life of Mrs. Ada Doss Campbell & stand in solidarity to restore her narrative, as she was a victim of discrimination & medical racism. She was erased from the land where she was held involuntarily until her egregious death.

We recognize the historical atrocities that claimed

countless lives including a heightened population

of African American citizens at Lakeland Asylum,

chattel slavery that preceded its claim, & the

many Native American & Indigenous people

including the Shawnee tribe that were forced off

of the land.





Chained Door


Cracked Mud


Deeply Rooted
Broken Vessels




we are interwoven


Artist Statement 

My art is a representation of over thirty years of self-discovery, of which at least 5 years were void of art-making, prayers, and deep hopes during the mid 2000’s. Immersing myself back into art culture and creating, I bring with me diversified narratives that deepen my passion to protect mind, body, and spirit.

This collection, Enter with Courage Handle with Care, was created between 2019-2023 with intentions not to trip over art-speak, and is accompanied with a digital learning guide; to personally hear my heart behind this work. I relay parts of my personal story, share anecdotes of my matriarchs, and preserve the narrative of the late Mrs. Ada Doss Campbell. 

There are some stories that one hears that are not necessarily personal but yet, not disconnected from a known reality, a string of place and time that moves beyond compassion and lands on a call-to-action. Her narrative strikes a chord with me and I amplify its unifying abilities with you. 

There is fluidity within the stories that I share and the modes in which I create. My use of polychromatic fusion, or multiuse of color colliding on canvas naturally creates forms. Some brushstrokes are arranged with structure, while much of the process for the paintings exhibited are created without knowing the intended end. This method to some is akin to process art and resembles abstract expressionism. I choose to superimpose human figures and portraiture selectively. 

I primarily create acrylic paintings. While building textures at times, I use natural materials such as: sand, textiles, and botanicals harvested from my garden or forest floor respectfully. After saturating a painting's background with a series of color washes, I vary the viscosity levels within the paints and pigments, understanding that similarly to life, the heaviest or most burdened layer subsides to the background and the lighter materials float to the surface. Just as stressors can be pushed down chemically, at some point they are inevitably revealed. The works displayed express many sides of interpreting life.


You may also explore wearable art exclusively designed for the Muhammad Ali Center retail store, created from eco-friendly materials such as modal scarves made from beechwood, and glass and wooden handmade beadwork reminiscent of my late grandmother, Elsz’ fiber artistry. I honor my matriarchs with my work including the “O” in Elsz & O, my late great aunt, Olist, the first African American artist and professor that I knew, from the sharecropping-hills of Tennessee. She spirited my innate artistic gifts early on and most significantly, my mother, Marilyn Cooper, who cherishes me always. 


My work is inspired by nature, cultural and personal memories. Processing my own transgenerational trauma, healing from abuse, surviving medical racism, systemic barriers and oppressions of living in a world submerged in Anti-Blackness has impacted my art. I create outward expressions to bring light to challenging issues, love and gratitude from within, to honor self, family and community. My faith ushers in possibilities to become who and what I need to be throughout my journey as an artist, woman, and conduit for culture shifts. 

I do not believe that personhood and production can be severed. My identity and lived experiences are multifaceted and intricately connected to narratives of the populations that I serve, love and are loved by. Art in this context is a reflection of both the sum and parts of identity. 

My desire for those that choose to engage with my art, is to be as intentional as I was through the art-making process. I welcome each community member as a participant and not a voyeur. Take a look and then look again. Observe the work, dive into the color-play, rhythm, broken lines, mergers of styles, layered textures, movement and emotions. Art is a vehicle to travel our minds to what is, what was, and what can be.

Consider abstractions from your own story and explore the intersections of belonging here in this paint that is birthed from place-informed, people-centered, and purpose-driven work. 

Enter with Courage Handle with Care



30% of all proceeds will be donated to the Muhammad Ali Center to undergird the center's universal mission to "be great & do great things." Additionally, 30% will be donated by artist, Marlesha to Phoenix Global Humanitarian Foundation in support of advocacy initiatives, &

anti-racism research to preserve the narratives of Mrs. Ada Doss Campbell. 

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