Farewell exhibition chronicles artist’s survival through chronic illness

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Charlene Claye, whose art speaks directly to her personal journey overcoming adversity and eyesight challenges brought on by retinitis pigmentosa, will exhibit a retrospective of her life’s work at the Community Artists’ Collective, April 7 through June 3. An opening reception will be held Friday, April 8, from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Claye, who began painting at the age of 14, was diagnosed with lupus in 1992 and forced to retire from teaching five years later. Her gift of color and creativity became her passion and escape from illness. Through her work the artist seeks to share her personal struggles and victories to inspire others to prevail over insurmountable challenges.

The Houston native, now living in Hot Springs, Arkansas, earned her master’s in art history from Howard University and completed her doctorate in education at the University of Arkansas in 2001, after retiring from Carthage Public School where she had taught art and foreign language.

Claye also studied at the l’Institut d’Art et Archaeologie of the University of Paris and earned a bachelors of fine art from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.

Over the years Claye has crafted a career as a noted artist, writer and lecturer and has been awarded multiple grants, fellowships and awards. Her travels have taken her to France, Germany, England, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Botswana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mexico, Bahamas, Canada, China, Belize, Honduras and Brazil. Her work shall remain a part of the narrative concerning contemporary art and artist. On-going challenges with her sight have prompted to Claye to prepare a retrospective exhibit, which spans the duration of her 50-year career as an educator, artist, historian and world traveler.

Dr. Claye will be available for lectures, interviews and workshops in Houston April 4-21, 2016.

The Collective, 4101 San Jacinto, Suite 116, is open–during exhibitions–Tuesdays through Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m.; Thursdays from noon to 8 p.m. and by appointment. For more information contact The Collective at 713-523-1616 or visit www.thecollective.org.