Negrotto's Gallery's "Fusion," the 10th Annual African American Art and Heritage Celebration, explores the contributions of African-Americans through the language of art.
The exhibit celebrates the diversity of various cultures and races but at the same time seeks to find common ground and blend commonalities.
"Fusion" features the works of at least 12 artists working in different media. At the opening reception, Nita Chase will entertain with "spoken word" -- a blend of poetry, music and dance.
Among the featured artists is Edward Moultrie of Waveland, who said it is a happy coincidence that the theme of the exhibition is "Fusion." When he started his latest series of paintings of African traditional and America modern culture, he had no idea how close he was to the theme.
"I wanted to bridge the gap of time and culture in my presentations," he said.
Many of his works are inspired by photos taken while travelling in Africa.
"What I'm doing now is a cross-cultural thing. I'm showing African beauty to the rest of the world," he said.
Most of his paintings can be described as cultural comparisons.
"The beauty that we see in any person really is skin deep, because when you compare it to different cultures, no matter how varied it is, it still comes across the way," he said.
Eric Lamar Jones of Vicksburg has lived in Atlanta, New York, Washington, D.C., and New Orleans, but his journey as an artist began at his brother William Tolliver's art gallery in Atlanta.
"He taught me a lot about life, about being yourself, staying true to who you are and doing what you love to do," Jones said.
His paintings depict stylized African-Americans involved in the activities of daily life: "working, loving, playing, music and just living.
"I want my art to be empowering and for people to enjoy art for what it is," he said. "There's really no right or wrong when it comes to art."
Princi Graham of Ocean Springs creates three-dimensional pieces that celebrate her African-American, Native American and French Creole ancestry.
"I try to capture the designs, colors and styles of the different cultures and pull it all together in my art," she said.
She said she is inspired by the native works that she has seen in her travels throughout the American Southwest, Mexico, Africa, and of course, the Gulf Coast.
"I really love the very clean, earthy colors and designs in Native American art," she said. "The designs are very similar to what I saw in the art and clothing in Senegal and Gambia in Africa."
Though Graham has seen the diversity of many different cultures, she said she is more struck by the similarities than differences.
"I want them to have a feeling of unity and a sense of being connected to the earth and all people," she said of audience response to her art. "Hopefully they'll be able to see some part of themselves in my work."