Brooklyn’s beloved former Council Woman Dr. Una S. T. Clarke was the focus of a labor of love that paid homage to her spirited personality as an effective politician in the community and ultimately, her elegant headwear.
In the exhibition titled “Una Queen of Hats,” Jamaica-American artist, Maxine Alex, in describing the lady of hats, used the words “sophisticated” and “elegant” and said it was a joy to work with her muse.
The second floor Caribbean Culture Theatre in the Linden Boulevard branch of the Brooklyn Library was adorned with frames of the iconic leader wearing her colorful hats. The pieces also showcased the hat-wearing lady in sketches, on canvas and in a variety of photos, again in hats of all description.
Alex said the outspoken leader who left an indelible mark on the community was one of the first persons she envisioned honoring many years ago when she was part of the Caribbean American Heritage month planning committee.
“I was inspired to honor Dr. Clarke, and thought it would be different to also highlight her beautiful hats, and to say, we see you, we hear you, and acknowledge you for the contributions that you made,” said Alex, adding, “we love to see you wearing those beautiful hats because they make you stand out.”
Alex expressed the joy it brought her as an artist, to put this masterpiece collection together. “This was one of the best ways to honor the lovely Dr. Clarke who has done so much for the community.”
Alex thanked her muse for her willingness to participate fully in the project that took her to many locations to be photographed.
“Her being so embracing made this exhibition possible,” said Alex.
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and her mother Una, sported eye-popping hats to match those worn by members of the audience, who viewed Dr. Clarke’s personal collection that was a part of the exhibition.
Alex praised the politician by saying “not only could she wear the heck out of any hat, she also took the New York City Council by storm, when she stood up to legalize the Flatbush ‘Dollar Vans,’ and later establish the Caton Market also on Flatbush Avenue, that today is still valuable to the community.”
In addition to the exhibition, Ingrid Charles and the Antillean Group and Rose October-Edun of the Guyana Cultural Association, treated the Queen of Hats to a stirring cultural presentation of choreography. Spoken-word poetry and a musical tribute by Menes De griot and the Shanto Rhythms celebrated Una – The Queen of Hats.