On Stage with The Migration Series

From left to right: Desmond Bing, Nora Achrati, Natalie Graves Tucker, Jeff Allin, Derek Goldman (director), James Johnson, and Craig Wallace. Rehearsing Terrance Arvelle Chisholm’s “In Constant Pursuit” inspired by Panel no. 3: From every southern town migrants left by the hundred to travel north. Photo: Kelley Daley

In conjunction with the recent exhibition People on the Move: Beauty and Struggle in Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series, the Phillips commissioned five local playwrights to create one-act plays in response to five specific panels in The Migration Series. The plays were presented twice as staged readings last fall, and on June 26th, 2017, the staged readings were recorded in the galleries alongside the artwork with the original cast and director.

The five plays address issues such as immigration, migration, racial tensions in America, and familial relationships. Filming the readings in the galleries, among the 30 panels The Phillips Collection owns, made for an interesting and meaningful atmosphere for the recordings. Read interviews with the playwrights here.

Recording “#51” by Laura Shamas, inspired by Panel no. 51: African Americans seeking to find better housing attempted to move into new areas. This resulted in the bombing of their new homes. Photo: Sarah Corley

Videographers Rob Migrin and Shaun Mir set up the scene for the recording of Annalisa Dias’s “A Legacy of Chains” while director Derek Goldman looks on. Photo: Sarah Corley

An Attitude of Possibilities

Exhibition at The Phillips Collection, Washington DC.

Installation view of The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture at The Phillips Collection. Photo: Lee Stalsworth

On April 30th, The Phillips Collection will say goodbye to The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture by artist Jacob Lawrence. The series portrays the life of the former slave turned leader of Haiti’s independence movement. Printmaker and artist Lou Stovall worked closely with Jacob Lawrence during his lifetime, getting to know him both as an artist and as a friend. Stovall spoke about Lawrence’s legacy with the Phillips in a 2001 interview: “He (Lawrence) painted people who changed the lives of other people, people who dedicated themselves to justice and honor.”

Jacob Lawrence utilized his artistic talents in a way that allowed him to portray his narratives in a most captivating way. He explored both realism and abstraction, with personal vision and popular style, said Stovall. The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture will surely be missed by staff and visitors alike. In the words of Lou Stovall, “The triumph of the human spirit is to rise above limitations, to create a sense of order, a place of well-being, an attitude of possibilities, and a desire for accomplishment. Together, Jacob and I did that.”

Elizabeth Federici, Marketing & Communications Intern

Your #Panel61: Migration in Progress

04In the final, 60th panel of The Migration Series, Jacob Lawrence leaves us with the words “And the migrants keep coming.” The story of migration is ongoing; what would the 61st panel look like today? Featured below are some thoughtful responses to this question by local artists. Submit your #Panel61 on our recently launched Jacob Lawrence website.

matt-malone-duly-noted

Panel 61 submission: Duly Noted (Kurtis Ceppetelli / Matthew Malone)

Duly Noted (Kurtis Ceppetelli / Matthew Malone)
This photograph was captured in from a rooftop in Cojimar, Cuba depicting a migration in progress. Using a slow shutter speed, it reveals a group of Cuban men after unloading a boat from the back a truck in the middle of the night. The truck is nothing more than a blur as it pulls away to prevent drawing attention from the authorities. The men can faintly be seen launching a small boat into the sea as the waves crash upon the shore. Once in the water they paddled beyond the reef by hand, fired up the engine, and set off to the United States.

doris-hamilton_doubt

Panel 61 submission: Doris Hamilton, “Doubt”

Doris Hamilton
African Americans migrated North to the cities for safety/opportunity but generations later, some of us are stuck in a stagnant corner, quadrant, or less affluent side of the river of the city because of generations of disappointment, hopelessness, and failure by those more prosperous to network or share their knowledge and success. Doubt is a love letter to the many African American inner city youth and young parents who I work with lacking foundation and natural role models for success in recent memory. I took the latter for granted while growing up. This young man is attempting to board a city bus on a cold day for a job interview downtown. On his way to personal growth and potential greatness, he has to overcome feelings of self-doubt, and any negativity from others that may be discouraging. Hopefully he can remember a kind word or thought to overcome his doubt and get on that bus.

james-long

Panel 61 submission: James Long

James Long
You might say that I am the embodiment of the migration experience. My grandfather, grandmother and their son, my father, left North Carolina to seek a better life in Philadelphia, searching for work created by the growing need of manufactured goods, as well as service to our country in the armed forces. Documentation was always at the center of their lives.