Kinsey Collection of African American Art Resumes Nationwide Tour
the Assembly area and the Greenwood Cultural Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will host works of art from Kinsey Collection, from May 22 to June 2021 at ONEOK Boathouse. The collection then travels to Tacoma Art Museum in Washington this summer.
The widely acclaimed exhibition, Kinsey’s African American Art and History Collection, celebrates the achievements and contributions of black Americans from 1595 to the present day. Considered one of the most comprehensive investigations into African American history and culture outside the Smithsonian Institution, the exhibit features more than 150 of the shared treasures amassed by Shirley and Bernard Kinsey during their five decades of wedding. The collection includes masterful paintings and sculptures, photographs, rare books, letters, manuscripts and more. The exhibition will be held at the Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) from July 31 to November 28, 2021.
Capturing national media attention and lived by over 15 million people, the groundbreaking exhibit has toured 30 cities in the United States and around the world, including the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, EPCOT Walt Disney World, California African American Museum, the Norton Museum of Art, the University of Hong Kong Museum and Gallery, and the African American Museum in Dallas, to name a few. The exhibition has been cited in three national awards, including the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.
Representing the intersection of art and history, the exhibition covers the life, achievements, and art of 16th-century African Americans through the years of slavery and emancipation, to the civil rights movement and in modern times. Important examples include sales invoices, advertisements, letters, and legal documents documenting the slave trade; hand-colored hues from the Civil War era; Harlem Renaissance art and literature; and articles highlighting key moments in the civil rights movement, including the Boycott of Woolworth Stores and the 1963 March on Washington.
Shirley and Bernard Kinsey, Floridians by birth and graduates of Florida A&M University, began collecting to remember their travels. Soon their collection became a repository of African-American intellectual, historical and artistic works. The Kinseys believe their collection helps provide a comprehensive overview of the African American experience and the integral role African Americans played in building this country, providing new perspectives on chapters in the country’s history. that were ignored. The collection is a family affair, Kinsey’s son Khalil as managing director and chief curator.
“The Kinsey Collection strives to give our ancestors a voice, a name and a personality, enabling the viewer to understand the challenges, obstacles, triumphs, achievements and extraordinary sacrifice of African Americans in building this country, ”said Bernard Kinsey. Khalil adds, “It’s a family story, illustrating what our family has done to tell their story. But it is also America. Most people only know half the story. “
A history of African Americans in art is traced through the works of many famous artists, including Alma Thomas, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Aaron Douglas, Sam Gilliam, Charles White, Augusta Savage, Lois Mailou Jones, Artis Lane, Robert S. Duncanson, and many more.
Other items include the first known black baptismal certificate and the black marriage certificate, dating from 1595; a copy of the first 1773 edition of Phillis Wheatley’s poems and a copy of the 1857 ruling Dred Scott. Other notable features include an early version of the Emancipation Proclamation; an illustration of the “First Senator and Representatives of Color” to the 41st and 42nd US Congresses; a letter from Malcolm X to Alex Haley, author of Roots: The Saga of an American Family; and a signed copy of Brown vs. Board of Education, a landmark 1954 Supreme Court legal decision ending school segregation and creating legal barriers to Jim Crow laws.
While this exhibit has been shown in multiple locations spanning the East Coast, Midwest, South, Mid-South, Southwest, and West Coast, this will be the first time the exhibit will be shown in the North. -western Pacific. According to Bernard Kinsey, “Our collection has made headlines around the world, from Hong Kong to Colombia, to Dallas, Texas. This represents an opportunity for the people of Washington, Oregon and Idaho to see books, manuscripts and paintings they will never have the chance to see again, outside of our nation’s capital. “
David F. Setford, Executive Director of TAM, said: “When I traveled to Dallas in September 2019 to see this exhibit and meet the Kinseys, I was overwhelmed. I was amazed by the power of the documents and artwork on display, their ability to tell an unknown story, and the Kinseys’ commitment to sharing that story. I decided that we had to tell this story to TAM. Then, as 2020 approached, the relevance of choosing this exhibit for our region and for the Museum’s DEIA work became even clearer.
The exhibit presentation at TAM and related community programs are being developed in conjunction with a Kinsey Collection Advisory Committee, made up of 18 Black leaders, artists, educators, and activists from the greater Tacoma area. Special tours, performances, lectures, youth programs and more will be organized at TAM and virtually during the exhibition. Additionally, a richly illustrated book with a foreword by Douglas A. Blackmon, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Asslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, accompanies the exhibit and will be available for sale. in the TAM store with other items related to the collection.