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Sweet Dreams 

When: Jan. 9-March 1 2009

Black History Month is coming up again, but with a special resonance in 2009 due to Obama's inauguration, Lincoln's bicentenary -- and, of course, recent tragic events in Oakland. Two artists celebrate black dignity at Joyce Gordon Gallery. Ben Hazard's powerful charcoal portraits, collectively entitled Sweet Dreams, capture the personalities of children ("Avante and Shawn"), young adults ("Mvanisha"), and the middle-aged and elderly ("Fatha Jay," "The Matriarch," "The Williams"); a series of sensual male nudes ("My Dad") symbolizes racial vitality and continuity. D. Michael Cheers' photographs, collectively entitled Reflections, are slices of life from his international travels; particularly noteworthy are "Doctors," three proud black women in scrubs; "Delta Blues;" "Angolan Orphans;" "EarthaKitt" (who died recently); and "Homeless," which might have been shot during the Great Depression, or yesterday. Sweet Dreams and Reflections run through March 1 at Joyce Gordon Gallery (406 14th St., Oakland) or 510-465-8928.

— DeWitt Cheng


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