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Art serves as a history lesson

  • Published
  • By Dan Hawkins
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
For Tech. Sgt. Bahiya Wilder, art has always been a passion and during February, which is African American History Month, Wilder has been able to turn her passion into a history lesson as well.

Wilder, an aircrew flight equipment instructor with the 361st Training Squadron at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, has been painting since she was five years old and got her inspiration from her aunt.

"Most of the time I painted at my auntie's house," Wilder said. "She works with ceramics and different types of medium of arts...I've done all kinds of different art with her. I've always loved art."

Seeing the artwork come alive in color is therapeutic and serves as a motivator for Wilder as she looks deeper into her heritage.

"It's nice just watching the colors interact with each other when the paint and water flow together," Wilder said. "I just love the different colors. It really inspires me to paint anything African. It makes me feel like I am reaching back into my African roots."

With her art as a backdrop for the base's annual African American History Month luncheon, Wilder understands she is learning about her own heritage in the process.

"I don't know a lot about my own African history and I want to learn more," Wilder said. "So I feel like when I do the painting, I'm learning and reaching back into the history that I want to know more about."

Valerie Berry, event organizer for Sheppard's 2012 African-American History Month luncheon, sees the intersection of the past and the present in Wilder's art.

"If you look at her art, it has an African flair to it," said Berry. "It's kind of like our roots, basically where we come from and where we are now."

Being able to make an impact on others by displaying her art is satisfying for Wilder.

"I feel really good," Wilder said. "It feels like all the work I've been doing over the years is paying off. When I can actually show it, I feel like all my inspiration, everything I've been getting from things that I've seen are actually making an impact."