Daily Egyptian

Black Art exhibit launches in Morris Library for Black History Month

Pulliam Hall. Daily Egyptian file photo.

Pulliam Hall. Daily Egyptian file photo.

By Olivia Spiers

A month-long art exhibit, “Black Art: A Visual Dialogue,” will be showcased in Morris Library in honor of Black History Month.

The exhibit will be launched at a kickoff event at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the library. The gathering will feature a presentation by Elizabeth Lewin, interim associate chancellor for institutional diversity, along with information about upcoming events.

“Remembering our history is important,” Lewin said. “It often gets overlooked, which is where these events come into play.”

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The 14 art pieces will be on display in the first floor rotunda of the library to “celebrate SIU’s black community,” said Sarah Prindle, library research guide and coordinator for the show.

Najjar Abdul-Musawwir, the professor who is curating the exhibit, said the works displayed are made by alumni of the university including himself and Crawford Wilson, an accomplished local artist.

“The artwork generates a sense of nostalgia of western art, with African elements,” Abdul-Musawwir said.

Crawford created a series of portraits called “Invisible Heroes” last February, which portrayed the 1990 vice president for academic affairs, Benjamin Shepherd. Crawford also won the university’s Rickert-Ziebold Trust award in 1982.

The artwork ranges from portraits of influential African-Americans in history to abstract pieces. This assortment of art “gives way for a better portrayal of the emotions behind black life,” Abdul-Musawwir said.

“All of the work shows the narrative of the black experience,” he said. “And it’s a beautiful thing.”

Staff writer Olivia Spiers can be reached at [email protected], 618-536-3325 or on Twitter @_spierso.

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