Sun Beneath The Soil
Friday, May 10
In his debut solo exhibit Sun Beneath The Soil, L.E.O. presents a body of work embracing the beauty, struggle and influence of a community through intimate details of everyday life in the Overtown neighborhood of Miami, Florida. Originally called Colored Town during the Jim Crow era of the late 19th through mid-20th century, the artist approaches his subjects with the understanding that everything we do is a result of our past. Through an honest and affectionate eye, O’Neal tells the stories of trauma, survival and love that create a vibrant culture inherently connected to so many others within the American historical landscape. Unabashedly human and eternally proud, the works of L.E.O. remind us that pain and growth are inexorably intertwined.
SUN BENEATH THE SOIL
I can feel the amount of strength you used to force me into the ground.
I bet your hands burn.
The darkness provides enough water, and it’s obvious I don’t need light.
I don’t have sight to see myself, to know my worth.
In due time, I’ll develop a pair of my own bifocals to focus on detail,
But from the looks of it I’m in the soil, beneath hell.
When I grow I’ll be fine.
Yes I’m scared.
Therefore I lose.
That ounce of control, so I scream just to sooth.
The pain I feel.
The love that fuels me.
Reginald O'Neal (L.E.O.) was born July 24, 1992 and raised in Overtown, Miami, Florida. He began painting in 2012, soon meeting his friend and mentor, Alejandro Dorda, who would teach him classically. In 2014, L.E.O. took his first trip to Europe to complete murals in Austria, Norway, and Spain, as well as exhibit in a collective show alongside his teacher in Berlin, Germany. In the years since, Reggie has focused on canvas work, residencies, and murals that embody his community surroundings and beliefs.