Photos by Courtland Myles.

On Exhibit: ‘No Matter What Kind of Black You Are’ at River Center Branch Library

Through his Sony A7 III lens, Courtland Myles highlights the multifaceted nature of Black identity through captivating portraits. Whether young or old, playing basketball or tithing at church, he captures each subject with intention. His art is often described as familiar and comforting, like a warm embrace. In his first art exhibition on February 9 at the River Center Branch Library, Myles will showcase stories that often go untold through his collection of portraits.

“I want people to see the richness of how I see us,” Myles explains. “I see things in the lens differently.
I see treasure in all of us. I see joy, I see beauty, passion and love. And I’m putting all of that into a frame to say no matter what kind of Black you are, Black is gold.”

“No Matter What Kind of Black You Are” invites viewers to experience the triumphs, struggles, joys and burdens that collectively form the diverse spectrum of blackness. “This exhibition is a reflection on the resilience of the Black community, showcasing how we’ve transformed challenges into opportunities and embraced our cultural heritage with pride,” he says.

The art exhibition was originally slated for December, but after a few setbacks, Myles ultimately decided to postpone. After settling on February 9 for the date, he realized the timeliness of hosting his debut exhibition during Black History Month. “It definitely happened by accident,” he says with a laugh. “But God had a plan, and it all worked out.”

Myles has just one word for his artistic style: intentional. He aims to help viewers empathize with the people in front of his lens through small details that encapsulate the complexities of their individual personalities and experiences.

“The fruits you bear come from how you care for the seeds,” he says. “I’ve seen people’s confidence and self-esteem boosted just by looking at a picture of themselves, and I’m very intentional in pursuing that feeling when I take portraits.”

Myles gets most of his inspiration from his friends and fellow Baton Rouge-based creatives, which is why the exhibition will feature several other local artists as well. “No Matter What Kind of Black You Are” may be his artistic debut, but Myles is using the platform to highlight the work of several other talented artists in the area.

The kick-off party begins at 6:30 p.m. at the River Center Branch Library on February 9 with special performances and collaborations including live music, spoken word performances, 3D art, painting and clothing vendors. @courtlandgalore