Sanctuary is an intimate father-daughter art exhibit that features unseen pieces by retired art teacher turned artist Gary Cooks, with new paintings by emerging artist LaShonda Cooks. The exhibition explores the sacred space that art creates for both father and daughter, in seasons of change.
Gary Cooks began his mandala-inspired series during his final semester of teaching. For almost 30 years, he had put his creativity on hold so he could inspire his students to be creative. Retirement gave him time to focus on his own work and use another gift that God had given him: the ability to create art. The mandala drawings provided a sense of calmness and created a sanctuary for his mind during this transitional period. He chose colors, patterns and shapes that made him feel happy and free. He believes art should be about feeling good.
The painting series by LaShonda Cooks explores the sanctuary created in revisiting memories from the past and how they evolve and change with time. She captures her defining moments from childhood to the present and reviews the ever-shifting roles of church, family and friends in her evolving views of beauty and womanhood.