Rod McGaha, a world-renowned sound and visual artist, is featured in a powerful solo exhibition in the upper-level Van Vechten gallery at Fisk University. A longtime favorite of jazz fans in Nashville, Chicago native Rod McGaha continues to blaze new creative trails, drawing from gospel, funk, and R&B as well as classic jazz. Mentored by jazz master Clark Terry at DePaul University, Rod went on to perform with such artists as Lou Rawls, The O’Jays, Bebe and Cece Winans, Take 6, Kirk Whalum, and Max Roach and his Brass Quintet. His interests in photography and visual art are often combined with jazz in creative multimedia projects. One of these is now on display at Fisk.
McGaha’s series Regeneration explores the power of art to heal and transform. The series is a visual and auditory journey that tells the story of black resilience and strength. His work is a must-see for anyone who is interested in exploring how black art is used as part of the healing process. The work is rooted in storytelling, as he uses his art to give voice to those who have been marginalized. His work is a powerful reminder that storytelling is a powerful tool for change, and that history is not static, and that it can be used to empower and inspire.
McGaha believes that art has the power to change narratives. He uses his art to challenge stereotypes and to create a more just and equitable world. His work is a powerful reminder that art is a force that can be used to help promote altruism in the world. The work also explores memory, as it is used to travel back in time. He uses his art to document the challenges and triumphs of black people and to pay tribute to the resilience of these communities.
“Images can be understood by all,” says McGaha in his Artist Statement. “By combining visuals with sound, I now feel like I am speaking with my ‘own’ voice. Music has a way of communicating the essence of how I see the visual. I approach my art with the overall concept of creating community through dialogue. The global community is the key to true understanding. Stepping outside of our own tribes, to interact with the tribes of others. My work involves blending the mediums of photography, video, and music as a way of engaging the community through the arts.”
“The Chair” is a standout piece in the exhibition. “As a trumpet player living with Marfan syndrome, I found myself facing open-heart surgery,” says McGaha. “After my return from the hospital, my bed became an uncomfortable place to rest, leading me to sleep sitting up in a chair. This chair embodies the healing journey of my scars as they gradually mended while I slept. But beyond that, it tells a story of silence; during that period my trumpets, once the vessels of music, remained silent. This installation is my personal testament to regeneration, transformation, and the profound stillness that accompanies life’s most trying moments.”