Dorsey, an artist who moved to
"Migration is not a story that's only familiar to us," he said. "It's familiar to a lot of immigrants that moved from one place to another."
Dorsey, 42, is a native of
In 2010, he launched the website Black Art in America, which is a global social network and resource for black visual artists, collectors and art enthusiasts. He has also been participating in activities at
Dorsey said documenting black migration movements is nothing new. It's already been done by the famous black painter
"But there's always a perfect opportunity to revisit that history and I think that's one of the things I'm excited about presenting this weekend, telling those stories," he said. "Some that are known to the public and some that are unknown."
One assemblage in the "Leaving Mississippi" exhibit is called "Americana." The centerpiece consists of a cluster of black bottles, symbolizing the spirit of people who traveled in search of a better life. Other items include a written text about a 10-year-old girl,
"My first job at 12 years old was working at a
Dorsey has also included aspects of
"Because Najee's work deals with the civil rights movement and some historical figures from the past, and he's a wonderful artist, we thought this was a good combination to have on our exhibition schedule and to put in the history gallery," Zohn said. "As a curator, I appreciate the multimedia and multidimensional aspects of the show. Even the two-dimensional pieces have depth because they're collaged together."
In addition to migration, the exhibit covers resistance movements in the
The exhibit includes a mixed media video that Dorsey created to explain the background of some of the pieces of the show and additional works not included in the exhibit. It also talks about resistance and how it's something still happening today.
"When we started this show it was the 1 percent movement, but today it's
One of the paintings depicts the wife of
Another depicts a group called Deacons for Defense and Justice, the first armed division of the civil rights movement. In the late '50s-early '60s, members of the group picked up arms to protect organizers and parishioners against the Ku Klux Klan.
Dorsey said he included the resistance pieces in the exhibit to show a period when black people stood up for their rights, which he believes is less prevalent today.
"This video really speaks to that era when people decided to fight -- the
"But what's the role of the artists? Do we not speak to man's humanity, or inhumanity, or the social ills of society?" he asked. "It doesn't have to be about someone dying. What about poverty? What about the war on the poor?"
He said what's happening in
"I'm thankful to have the show here," he said. "It's a clear reflection of who I am and what's important to me. So I just invite everyone to come out and take a look for themselves and see what they can take from it."
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