Monday, October 11, 2010

Oct. 15: Art opening at the DLP "Skillets" by Donnell Collins


Award-winning photojournalist Donnell Collins explores the theme of race and the beauty industry in a gallery at the Aurora Public Art Commission this fall.

An opening reception for “Skillets, a Photo Essay by Donnell Collins” will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, at the Public Art Commission, 20 E. Downer Place. The reception, which is free, will feature musical entertainment by Allison Zabelin.

Collins, 54, who lives in Aurora, has worked on “Skillets” for more than 15 years. The gallery delves into negative messages and stereotypes that Collins said pervade in the beauty world. Studying race has been “one of the more exhausting themes” of his life, he said.

“Somewhere along the way, I have noticed within the so-called beauty world that many of us will go out and attempt to purchase what someone else has been naturally blessed with,” Collins said. “We sit in a salon or spa for hours adding on, cooking our skin, changing our eye color, bleaching our skin, avoiding the sun and having no fun.”

Collins attended Oak Park Elementary School, Simmons Junior High and East Aurora High School. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University, he served in the U.S. Army from 1974-1977. Collins then worked as a photographer for 20 years at the “Aurora Beacon-News,” winning numerous awards for his photo journalism.

In 2004, Collins was honored by the City of Aurora’s African-American Heritage Advisory Board for his outstanding achievements. He now works as a freelance photographer for the “Beacon-News” and operates his own photo studio in downtown Aurora.

“Skillets” will headline the Aurora Public Art Commission gallery Oct. 15 through Saturday, Dec. 4. Regular gallery hours are noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday. Admission is free.

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