Men of Change: New Smithsonian exhibition sheds light on Black icons

Men of change

 

BY MADISON WILLIAMS

The Dallas Examiner

 

The profiles of African American men who have inspired change and activism in America has been presented through a traveling exhibition. The Men of Change. Power. Triumph. Truth was unveiled Saturday at the African American Museum at Fair Park.

Using lightboxes, local guest curator Phillip E. Collins, presented unsung heroes – bringing them out of the dark and into the light and on display.

Each lightbox biography was paired with an original portrait created by a Black artist who magnified the subjects’ impact, while showcasing their own work. Participating artists include Nina Chanel Abney, Shaunte Gates, Robert Pruitt and Devan Shimoyama.

Around 130 “men of change” are represented throughout the exhibit, including Romare Bearden, Dick Gregory, Kendrick Lamar, LeBron James and so many more. These revolutionists were chosen for how they reshaped American history and culture through science, sports, entertainment, business, religion and politics.

“The artwork was selected through five extensive categories for showcase: imaging, storytelling, community, myth breaking and catalyst, all regarding the African American male,” Collins said.

“The interesting thing about these portraits is that the artists were aligning themselves with the ‘men of change’ that had similar agendas as themselves in the content of their artwork. There are only about 38 portraits, but they are powerful pieces of art.”

Created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the exhibit was made possible through the help of the Ford Motor Company Fund. Local sponsors were Bank of America and the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture.

“We hope that by experiencing Men of Change visitors will see a lesson for us all, regardless of gender, race or nationality,” said Myriam Springuel, director of SITES and Smithsonian Affiliations. “In these men we see an absolute ideal and a well of inspiration that encourages us to become our best selves.”

The museum is located at 3536 Grand Ave. in Fair Park. The exhibition will run through Sept. 12 and admission is free.

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