Highlighting the black culture on canvas

My Life on Canvas: A Painter’s Story

Highlighting the black culture on canvas
BLACK HISTORY MOMENTS: Highlighting the black culture on canvas

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) -Karen LaBeau’s love of art started when she was a little girl and inspired by her grandfather.

Karen T. LaBeau, Professional Artist
Karen T. LaBeau, Professional Artist (Source: Karen T. LaBeau)

Her goal is to exhibit the works from her “My Life on Canvas” series across the state of Louisiana. Her work is currently available for purchase in outlets located in Breaux Bridge, Port Barre, New Orleans, and Shreveport, LA. She has created many pieces centering on telling her story through paint, canvas, wood, old windows and sheetrock.

"Do Whatcha Wanna"
"Do Whatcha Wanna" (Source: Karen T. LaBeau)
"Shotgun Row"
"Shotgun Row" (Source: Karen T. LaBeau)

Karen said when she moved to Shreveport about 15 years ago, she missed home and that is what inspired her to started painting things from home to help her cope. “I have painted a lot of the HBCU marching groups being from New Orleans; you know Mardi Gras is real big, so I have painted the Baby Dolls, the Zulu marching groups, a lot of scenes from when I grew up going to Mardi Gras; the things that I saw that was significant to our black people out there performing or doing the Mardi Gras.”

She says that turned into her telling her story. “I tell my whole body my life on canvas so everything or anything significant I come in contact with I put on canvas.”

It’s basically telling a story through art rather than through the pages of a book. Her “Hairitage” series is one she is most proud of.

“Hairitage is spelled HAIR because as black women our hair is our crowning glory and most of us grew up with Saturday morning for hair time and there are actually families that would actually do this you know large families getting ready for their Saturday morning and I have done at least 5 of these. Sometimes you will see a girl in her ballet outfit because she is getting ready to go to ballet, her mother is getting ready to do groceries, you have a grandmother who is helping. This tells such a deep story of empowerment a connection with women.”

"Selfie" (Source: Karen T. LaBeau)
"The Revolution Will Be Televised"
"The Revolution Will Be Televised" (Source: Karen T. LaBeau)

Karen was honored as a woman artist by the North Louisiana Multicultural Center two years in a row. Several years ago, she began teaching middle school children art in an after school outreach program.

“I teach kids through a Noel Methodist Church which is predominantly black kids that attend there and I like to inspire them. Every kid has some sort of talent they just don’t realize it yet and I help to bring it out of them and inspire them and show them you can actually make money actually doing art and tell a story.” She says it is important as an artist to remain involved in the community.

BLACK HISTORY MOMENTS: Highlighting the black culture on canvas

You can view Karen’s artwork here.

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