The Hite Art Institute at UofL will present “Underground Railroad 2015,” an exhibition featuring four series of works by Professor Mark Priest from Jan. 29 to Feb. 28.
The exhibition includes 74 drawings and paintings exploring slavery in America and the impact it continues to have on American life. There are four series of works, each focusing on a historically significant person or place: The Frederick Douglass Drawing Series; the Nalle Series based on Charles Nalle; the Tubman Series based on Harriet Tubman; and the Stewart’s Canal series based on the site of Joseph Stewart’s Canal.
“Narrative of the Early Years of Frederick Douglass: Drawing Series” will be on display at UofL’s Cressman Center for Visual Arts, 100 East Main St. “Life of a Freedom Seeker: Paintings and Drawings” encompasses the other three series and will be on display at the Schneider Hall Galleries on UofL’s Belknap campus.
Priest has been working on the series since 2003 when his son wrote a paper on Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. As he listened to his son read the paper, Priest began to envision what could be done from an artistic standpoint. “It had so much intriguing history and reality about it,” Priest said. “It inspired me to start the series.”
“Underground Railroad 2015” also includes a public education component. The Underground Railroad Symposium will be Thursday, Feb. 5, at the Schneider Hall Galleries. Guest lecturers include UofL Professor Emeritus Robert Douglas and J.O.K. Walsh, a historian and storyteller from Denton, Md.
The opening reception for the Schneider Hall display will follow the symposium from 5-7 p.m., Feb. 5. The opening reception for the Cressman Center display will be held from 5-9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 6 at the center. All events are free and open to the public.