HCC gallery features artist who challenges 'dis' in disability
Jan 15, 2016
The Houston Community College (HCC) Art Hub Gallery opened the spring semester with an abstract art exhibition entitled Rebirth – Revival – Revolution: Works by Alvin & Ezra Roy. The standing room only crowd of community and students filled the gallery at the HCC Northeast Campus to hear artists Alvin and Ezra Roy discuss their works and triumphs. The opening event was more than an art exhibition; it was a lesson about tapping into one’s ability when society says that it is impossible.
Alvin Roy began a promising career in law after serving eight years in the military. When his infant son Ezra Roy was diagnosed with Down syndrome, the single father was determined to make a difference in his son’s life. During the artist lecture, Alvin Roy admitted that when he first heard of the diagnosis, he was afraid and wept, but only for two minutes. Then, his upbringing and mental toughness kicked in. “It became me and Ezra against the world,” said Roy.
Roy transitioned into an art career and taught his son how to draw and paint. Once he learned that his son was a high-functioning Downsyndrome child, he fought for Ezra to be placed in general population classes at school and pushed for new methods of teaching. “There were many hurdles to overcome, but we never gave up,” explained Roy.
The father-son duo continued their art journey throughout the years and Ezra eventually graduated from high school, passed both the SAT and ACT, then enrolled into college to study art. In December 2014, Ezra graduated from Texas Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in Art with honors – the only person with Down syndrome to do so.
During the lecture, Alvin Roy asked all in attendance to see their artwork to share this message, “Let’s drop the ‘dis’ in disability and focus on a person’s ability.”
The exhibit features the abstract artwork of Alvin Roy that is derived from musical influences, relationships and history. Ezra’s work fluctuates between realism, African history and abstraction, which have turned disabling barriers into positive visions. One such piece features a self-portrait of Ezra as he imagines himself on the inside, while another shows him partaking in the typical activities of the millennial generation.
Alvin advocates for the abilities of teenagers and young adults who have special needs and provides professional mainstream art experiences through his Houston-based organization, 1-On-1 Art, Inc. Both artists have shown locally and nationally and displayed their works in private collections.
The art exhibition will run from January 14 – February 11, 2016. Viewing is available Mondays through Thursdays, 1 - 5 p.m. and Fridays by appointment. The HCC Art Hub Gallery is located at 555 Community College Drive, 77013. For more information, call Dr. Hilda Gentry at 713.718.8329 or visit northeast.hccs.edu.
Photo 1: Father and son with artwork by Alvin Roy
Photo 2: “Self Portrait” by Ezra Roy
Photo 3: “My X-Ray” by Ezra Roy
Photo 4: Visitors viewing works by Ezra Roy