Storytelling Through Art: Pakistani Voices

In this video, Phillips Educator Rachel Goldberg explains how the exhibition Pakistani Voices: In Conversation with The Migration Series, which brings together work by Pakistani students, artists, and art educators with Jacob Lawrence’s epic series of panel paintings, came to be. 

Installing Pakistani Voices

This week, we’ve been busily installing Pakistani Voices: In Conversation with the Migration Series—an exhibition featuring artwork created during the workshops I facilitated in Pakistan last spring. The exhibition runs from October 1 through December 31, 2013.

Rachel Goldberg, Manager of School, Outreach and Family Programs

Installing The Migration Series alongside artwork by young Pakistani artists. Photo: Rachel Goldberg

Installing The Migration Series alongside artwork by young Pakistani artists. Photos: Rachel Goldberg

Laying out the exhibition. Photo: Rachel Goldberg

Laying out the exhibition.

Emerging artists in Islamabad and Lahore collaborated to create artwork in response to Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series. Photo: Rachel Goldberg

Emerging artists in Islamabad and Lahore collaborated to create artwork in response to Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series.

Artwork created by high school and elementary aged students. Photo: Rachel Goldberg

Artwork created by high school and elementary students.

Jacob Lawrence’s Bar-b-que Makes a Splash in Terra’s Collection

Jacob Lawrence, Bar-b-que, 1942. Gouache on paper, 29 1/2 x 21 1/8 inches (sight); 30 7/8 x 22 1/2 inches (paper). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Fund, 2013.1. © 2013 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Image courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

The exciting news of the Terra Foundation for American Art’s recent acquisition of a 1942 masterpiece by Jacob Lawrence, Bar-b-que (1942), has me reflecting once again on the extraordinary achievement of this artist whom writer Claude McKay called “a peerless delineator of the Harlem scenes and types.” The Terra now has yet another gem among its holdings as this work by Lawrence most certainly is. When you consider that Lawrence painted it just one year after his groundbreaking The Migration Series, of which the Phillips owns half, you can see just how fast that train was moving with the young, aspiring twenty-four year-old artist at its helm. With its jazz-like syncopated rhythms flowing through the complex multi-storied composition, Lawrence captures in Bar-b-que a characteristic moment in the leisure life of the working class Harlem community with which he so closely identified.

Seeing Terra’s latest acquisition by Lawrence also triggered a connection with one of our own Stuart Davis paintings, Corner Café (1930), in which Davis evokes the vitality of Parisian life in the 1930s through alternating rhythmic patterns, calligraphic signs, and bold color. The connection is no accident as Lawrence came to know Davis personally through their shared role as artists on Edith Halpert’s roster for the Downtown Gallery.

Elsa Smithgall, Curator

Stuart Davis, Corner Cafe, 1930. Oil on canvas, 15 x 18 7/8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Acquired 1931.