Dallas/ Arts & Culture
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Published on February 21, 2024
Oak Cliff Cultural Center Debuts Tiara Unique Francois' Exhibit "learning to be T.U.F." in DallasSource: Zodana2465, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Oak Cliff Cultural Center is rolling out the red carpet for the opening of Tiara Unique Francois’ solo exhibition "learning to be T.U.F.", this Friday, Feb. 24, complete with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Patrons can expect a 7 p.m. gallery talk with both the artist and curator Ciara Elle Bryant, and maybe catch some personal interaction with both creative minds, according to the City of Dallas.

Drawing on her own life story, Francois' paintings and assemblages give form to the young black woman's narrative, her family background, and the catalog of personal skirmishes and triumphs that she's chalked up over time. The title of the show, "learning to be T.U.F.", is a play on her initials, underscoring not only her personal development but also a deeper self-awareness. According to the City of Dallas, "learning to be T.U.F. is a direct musing of this soul journey."

Bryant's role as curator isn't just about arranging art on walls; she's bringing conversations about black culture and historical studies right into the heart of Dallas' art scene. Embedded with a research and curatorial practice that’s as much about digging deep into the black cultural narrative as it is about hanging frames and setting spotlights, her collaboration with Francois results in an introspective dive into identity and experience.

An artist with local roots and a growing reputation, Francois has Dallas written all over her resume. With a BFA from UT Arlington and a list of group exhibitions that spans the Lone Star State and reaches as far as Georgia and California, Francois is no stranger to the spotlight. She even wrapped an artist residency in Georgia last year, as her career trajectory is on the rise.

The Oak Cliff Cultural Center, nestled right by the historic Texas Theater, will showcase Francois’ work through March 29. They're open Tuesday-Saturday, from noon to 6 p.m., so there's plenty of opportunity to see what it means to learn to be T.U.F.