‘Invictus’ art exhibition inspired by Vanderbilt student’s African American studies

"The Hunted Slaves" by Richard Ansdell (1815-1885)
“The Hunted Slaves” by Richard Ansdell (1815-1885)

An art exhibition inspired by a Vanderbilt undergraduate’s course work in African American history will be on display at Vanderbilt Divinity School Feb. 2–24.

The Religion in the Arts and Contemporary Culture program will host “Invictus: Twenty Works Celebrating African Americans’ Pursuit of Freedom and Will to Survive” in the Divinity School’s art gallery, Room G-20. The exhibition will open with a free public reception from 3 to 7 p.m. Feb. 2 at the gallery.

“Invictus” was curated by Yollette T. Jones, associate dean of the College of Arts and Science, and organized by Maya T. King, a junior in the College of Arts and Science. Inspired by her courses in the Department of History, King envisioned a visual art exhibition that would put “positive and uplifting images of African Americans in the public view.”

The exhibition examines artists’ portrayals of African American struggle and survival in the United States beginning with the documentation of the death of Crispus Attucks at the Boston Massacre in 1770. On display are notable works by John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, John Wilson, Charles White and more. Collectively, these images tell the story of black resolve in the face of social and economic difficulties.

The exhibition’s closing reception will take place from noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center on the Vanderbilt campus.

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Along with Religion in the Arts and Contemporary Culture, the exhibition is co-sponsored by the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center, Office of the Dean of Students, College of Arts and Science, and Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

For more information, email Dave Perkins or call 615-385-0220.