An Activist’s Art

Exhibit Highlights Work of Romare Bearden
by Sala Levin ’10 | Collage by Romare Bearden/Licensed by Vaga

A mother and child reading by lamplight, depicted in striking shades of blue, brown and yellow. A woman cradling an older woman at a table overflowing with flowers, pears and watermelon. Ships crossing a deep blue ocean, carrying slaves from one continent to another.

Romare Bearden, one of the 20th century’s most celebrated African American artists, was known for his bold collages depicting both the everyday joys and the sociopolitical trials of black life in America.

A traveling exhibit on view now at UMD’s David C. Driskell Center, “Romare Bearden: Artist as Activist and Visionary,” focuses on Bearden as both an artist and a social activist.

“Romare Bearden was not only a mature and richly gifted artist—he was one of America’s early scholars in the study and documentation of the creative legacy of African American art,” says Professor Curlee R. Holton, director of the Driskell Center. “His unique collage-like style and intimate subject matter brought to life histories and familial relationships of African Americans with respect and affection.”


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