“The first stop on the national tour of the landmark exhibition Whitfield Lovell: Passages is in South Florida at the Boca Raton Museum of Art (February 15 – May 21), and will continue across six states throughout the American South and the Midwest. This is the largest exhibition ever presented of Lovell’s work that focuses on lost African American history, and raises universal questions about America’s collective heritage. Organized by the American Federation of Arts (AFA) in collaboration with the artist, the exhibition is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Terra Foundation for American Art, and encompasses the entire first floor galleries of the Boca Raton Museum of Art (7,500 square feet). This is the first time these multi-sensory installations by Lovell are presented together in a museum-wide show of this monumental size and scope.” — Boca Raton Museum of Art
“I have avoided making images of famous people, and instead I use found images of so-called ‘anonymous’ people, whose names we don’t know and whose lives we can’t know about because they were erased from history,” says Whitfield Lovell. “At one time this person walked the earth, spoke and lived and dreamed, just as we are doing today. I look for the humanity that I can find from each of the nameless images I choose to work from.”
“I see the so-called ‘anonymous’ people in these vintage photographs as being stand-ins for the ancestors I will never know,” says Whitfield Lovell. “I see history as being very much alive. One day, 100 years from now, people will be talking about us as history. The way I think about time is very different – I don’t think it really was very long ago that these things happened, it wasn’t that long ago that my grandmother’s grandmother was a slave,” adds Lovell.
“These installations create a profound immersive experience that enables visitors to become participants in, not just observers of, the experience of these ancestors who were lost to time,” says Pauline Forlenza, the Director and CEO of American Federation of Arts. “Together, these works convey passages between bondage, freedom, and socioeconomic independence, promoting a deeper connection with African American histories through art. An exhibition of this magnitude would not be possible without the support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Terra Foundation for American Art, and the six museums selected for this tour.”
Images courtesy Boca Raton Museum of Art.