When looking at Winfred Rembert’s The Black Cat one can practically feel the band’s music vibrating the bar’s floor boards. The scene of indulgence and celebration is in stark contrast to Rembert’s well-known compositions of incarcerated Black men. Born in Cuthbert, Georgia in 1945, Winfred Rembert (1945-2021) did not start creating art until the age of 51, after two times in jail and a near-lynching. Rembert was born into the Jim Crow South and as a teenager was involved in the Civil Rights Movement. He was first arrested after one demonstration which ended with him running from armed policemen and stealing an unlocked car as a means to get away. He then escaped jail, was caught once more and hung by a mob of white men, but not killed. He spent the next seven years on the chain gang. Later in life after his release from jail, he married his wife Patsy Gammage and settled in New Haven, Connecticut. Patsy encouraged Rembert to use his leather-tooling skills that he learned while in prison to create pictures. His work ranges from depictions of joyful memories of his childhood to the realities of the Jim Crow South and incarceration as a Black man. A well-known series of Rembert’s is a reflection of his time in jail and shows prisoners working hard labor. He said to the New Yorker, “Everybody was locked down tight. They didn’t have no movement. There was no playing around, no freedom.” The present work, The Black Cat, is a departure from that. The densely packed club is full of life. There is music, conversation, dance and romance. As the viewer, you’re drawn into the picture as you unravel all that The Black Cat has to offer. Rembert’s dynamic portrayal of figures and use of color creates a palpable energy, sense of movement and sound. Here, Rembert has created a space of freedom.