The Bydee people are in their own utopia and look out, wondering why we are so disturbed.The shell in his first painting was in tribute to his beloved home, Trinidad, where shells abound. As he evolved, Joseph realized the image was representative of himself “coming out of my shell” and entering a new level of living. The Bydee people represented in the majority of his later work “are in their own world, a sort of utopia. They look out at us and wonder why we are so disturbed.” Joseph and his Bydee community strive to promote peace, love and happiness. He pointed out that the Bydee people have no faces because of the human tendency to emphasize looks. “You don’t have to be good looking to be happy,” Joseph says. The exhibit, “Retrospective of Brian Joseph’s Art,” is sponsored by the Greater Austin Black Commerce. It is an opportunity for patrons and friends to acknowledge the gift Joseph’s collection has been to the Austin community. Attendees were treated to soulful musical performances, including Cecil Francis on steel drums. Long-time Austin residents Dale and Trina Robertson were in attendance and recall the Bydee Man’s work at a Clarksville Festival early in Joseph’s artistic career. Trina noted that since then, “Bydee’s work has been integrated into practically every local social movement I’ve seen.” This aligns with Joseph’s desire to become even more active in civic and social progress, using his art to make a positive difference.
The Bydee Art Gallery exhibit will be open at the Dedrick-Hamilton House through September 30. Connect directly with Brian Joseph for more information about him.