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.


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.


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.


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.

Your #Panel61

In 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.


Stephen Whiteside, “Again: The lynchings continue”

Stephen Whiteside
“My work is a depiction of the family of Alton Sterling, who was killed by police on camera a few months ago. I used an old-style tv because I feel like this problem has been going on since this model was relevant. I think it could be Panel no. 61 because if this continues, a new migration out of the U.S. could be in the making.”


Helen Zughaib, “Syrian Migration Series #1”

Helen Zughaib
“For the past five years, I have been focusing my work on the Arab Spring. In 2010, I had my first trip back to the Middle East since having been evacuated from Beirut, Lebanon in late 1975. I went to Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. I saw where my father was born in Damascus, Syria.

As the months have dragged on, initial hope has turned into war and mass migrations that have resulted from the war in Syria.

Focusing on women and children, the most vulnerable of victims, I also address the current anti-immigration sentiment that seems ever-growing globally. The calls to build a wall to keep them out, or to keep them imprisoned in refugee camps. I focus on the bias and negative stereotyping that this wave of refugees, mostly from Syria, seeking safety, has brought to much of the Western European countries and America.

I try to bring attention to the plight of children fleeing their war-torn countries, trying to find safe haven, while remaining hopeful that one day things will change; or just to make sure people do not forget the sacrifices that so many people have made and continue to make.”


Gloria Duan, “~`”

Gloria Duan
“This painting is part of an ongoing series that futuristically looks towards humanity’s eventual interstellar migration, and exploration of the cosmic landscape. These double-sided cyanotype paintings on silk habotai, currently spanning up to 33 feet in length, are un-stretched but secured with hand rolled edges, and suspended in zero gravity for the viewer to float through and around, as an immersive experience. In the spirit of Jacob Lawerence’s Migration Series, which explores the motivations and sacrifices of 6 million African Americans during the Great Migration, this work is designed to be an interactive monument, that acknowledges the hardships of planetary relocation through focusing hope towards the beauty and potential of life after the long journey.”

Did You Know? Jacob Lawrence Edition

We’re thrilled to have a brand new DC museum neighbor starting this  weekend! The National Museum of African American History and Culture officially opens its doors on Saturday, Sept. 24, and in celebration we’re highlighting the work of Jacob Lawrence, a key artist from the new Smithsonian’s permanent collection (and the star of a special exhibition at the Phillips this fall):

1) Jacob Lawrence painted all 60 panels of his seminal work The Migration Series simultaneously. To keep the colors consistent, Lawrence applied one hue at a time to every painting where it was to appear.


Jacob Lawrence, The Migration Series, Panel no. 3: From every southern town migrants left by the hundreds to travel north., between 1940 and 1941. Casein tempera on hardboard, 12 x 18 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1942 © 2016 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

2) Lawrence became the first African American artist to be represented by a New York gallery when The Migration Series was shown at Manhattan’s Downtown Gallery in 1941. It was after seeing the works here that museum founder Duncan Phillips fell in love with Lawrence’s work, and gave the artist his first solo exhibition show in 1942.


Installation of The Migration Series at Downtown Gallery

3) Jacob Lawrence was 24 years old when he painted The Migration Series. He did so with the help of his wife Gwendolyn Knight, who assisted in prepping the boards and writing captions.


Jacob Lawrence working on Panel no. 55 of The Migration Series