I was a freshman at the University of Miami who was shy, sheltered and sanctified holy. My dad, Bishop Livingston Rolle never wanted me to live in the University’s dorms; he said unrepeatable things about University life… but I was determined to explore the forbidden fruit. I found University life was also in the garden of a new life; there was art in dance, drama, and spell-binding visual arts… it was a brave new world thirty minutes from our segregated home in the colored town of Richmond Heights, Florida.
At the University I met new friends, actresses, dancers, and artists. I never remembered seeing an original fine art creation in a home –it could have been there but I did not recognize it to be so. Carl Latimore became my friend, he said he was an artist, the first one I had ever met. I marveled at the work of artists, it seemed as if their internal musing became visual for other souls to witness and enjoy. I wanted to experience more art and commissioned Carl to create a piece on my University apartment wall of mother Africa in tears; when it was time to leave the apartment, I asked Carl to create a replica of the larger work on canvas; that began a lifetime of art appreciation.
In graduate school at Howard University, I later went on to launch Nyangoma’s Gallery with my sister Lusetha Rolle Taylor and my classmate and friend, Connie Hamilton. The Gallery was named after my daughter, Grace Karis LeTrece Nyangoma Katabaruki who was born in Tanzania, East Africa. The Gallery’s niche was showing and marketing fine art by African and African American Artists. The Gallery closed after several years as we all transitioned in life to other callings, however my love for art continued.
Recently I reconnected with my old friend who is now known as C. J. Latimore and viewed several of his masterpieces in Miami. I am proud and pleased that his life-sized creations of black legacy heritage are accessible for all and it started with his belief that art is for everyone — it changed my life — it changed me. My hope is that art continues to be accessible, not just in public, but in the private viewings of homes and hearts because art touches the soul.